Sarbajit Roy

Er. Sarbajit Roy, eminent social and ant-corruption activist from India, is National Convenor of the India Against Corruption movement which made millions of Indian occupy Indian streets in 2011 protesting systemic corruption. Sarbajit Roy is a reformed "bad boy" computer hacker from the early 1980s when he designed India's first computer virus for military uses.

As Convenor of National Campaign for Political Reform in India, Roy is a relentless public interest litigation advocate and Freedom of Information activist who successfully takes on large Indian corporates in the regulatory sphere, and who CNN describes as "Sarbajit Roy, a man who found time to stall the Delhi sealing drive, have CAS repealed and get telecom operators regulated".

Right to Information

Roy is a mechanical engineer from BITS Pilani (batch of 1980) and an transparency activist since 1982 and also a prolific user of RTI process since 2001 who extensively participated in the drafting of the Delhi RTI Act 2001 and also the National RTI Act 2005. Sarbajit Roy holds the triple distinction of filing the first Right to Information (RTI) application, the first RTI Appeal as well as the first RTI Complaint under India's Right to Information Act 2005.

Roy was notable in 2005 for being the first activist to bring India's state conferred monopolies under the scope of Freedom of Information hitherto applicable only to Government agencies. A 2010 court case filed against Roy in India's longest running RTI matter (now pending in India's Supreme Court), triggered India's Right to Information law being revised, after the Delhi High Court declared the existing RTI regulations as illegal. This caused protests by RTI activists and caused 2 members of the Central Information Commission to stop holding hearings.

Roy stops Conditional Access System (CAS)

Sarbajit Roy approached the Supreme Court, in December 2003, saying that 2 million HUMAX imported Cable TV set top boxes being forced on consumers for Conditional Access System (CAS) were actually recycled STBs not meeting the safety specifications set by the Bureau of Indian Standards and lacking BIS certification. Sarbajit Roy approached the Supreme Court after the senior officers of Delhi Police were unsure of their jurisdiction to register the crime (FIR) on his complaint that flimsy STBs containing fatal voltages as high as 4000 Volt were being sold to consumers without the mandatory BIS certification. Senior police officers said, "We don't know what to do with the complaint. The matter has to be resolved at government level. It is the policy makers and BIS which has to take care of the matter". A similar story published by the Daily Pioneer newspaper, got Roy and Pioneer's editor Chandan Mitra sued for defamation, which was later dismissed. Faced with Roy's petition the UPA Govt refused to implement the previous NDA Govt's controversial scheme and the Supreme Court, while permitting the few extant CAS systems to continue, granted leave to Roy to apply again if the scheme was revived. The STB manufacturer refused to take back the recycled STBs which caused considerable loss to the cable system operators.

Social works

Sarbajit Roy is the Chief Moderator of India's largest RTI group the "Humjanenge" (We shall know) people's movement. On behalf of the Humjanenge he exposed the illegal functioning of UIDAI (an invasive project to extract biometrics of Indian citizens) to public scrutiny using RTI in 2010. In 2010 Roy also forced the National Advisory Council (an extra-constitutional power centre allowing foreign spies to function from under Ms. Sonia Gandhi's petticoats) to appoint a functioning Public Information Officer.


In September 2012, Sarbajit was invited by Dr. Sanyal (President of the registered association India Against Corruption) to also officiate as National Convenor of the India Against Corruption 'jan andolan' after many senior IAC andolan personalities were found to be proxies for politicians and corporate interests and could not be trusted to lead the andolan forward honestly.



  1. IAC about us
  2. Are activists barking at the wrong tree on political parties being under RTI?
  3. Radio One FM Mumbai issues apology
  4. "Anti-corruption body abandons Janlokpal" Hindustan Times New Delhi,p.2, 03 Sept 2013, "Nivedita Khandekar".
  5. "RTI ruling puts discoms, DERC at loggerheads". New Delhi: Indian Express. December 15, 2006.



Media links and quotes

  1. Economic Times (14 Sep 2004) "Sarbajit Roy petitions SC that cable TV is a utility and asks for subscriber addressability module (SAM) instead of sub-standard Set Top Boxes"
  2. Asian Age (3 Oct 2005) "Right to Information Act gets first applicant Sarbajit Roy, official sources said,"
  3. Indian Express (16 Oct 2005) "Sarbajit Roy was a bad boy in the 1980s: he wrote viruses"
  4. Indian Express (16 Oct 2005) "The hacker lives on, Roy is the leading manufacturer of programmable logic controls in north India"
  5. Times of India (29 Nov 2005), "Legal commentator on public issues Sarbajit Roy said"
  6. Times of India (10 Dec 2005) "The petitioner to disconnect electricity connections of illegal industrial units, Sarbajit Roy, has said"
  7. Times of India (23 Dec 2005) "The first-ever hearing filed before Central Information Commission by a Delhi-based engineer, Sarbajit Roy"
  8. Central Information Commission (23 Dec 2005) p.17 "Complainant Sarbajit Roy at first hearing before Central Information Commission"
  9. Times of India (24 Dec 2005) "After a two-hour public hearing before TV cameras, the first proceeding under RTI Act, the CIC directs DDA to explain why it had withheld the public feedback on the proposed Master Plan for Delhi-2021 from applicant Sarbajit Roy."
  10. **HRnews
  11. Hindustan Times (18 July 2006) "Sarbajit Roy, a cyber-law expert, said: "This block is a mindless exercise and shows that our bureaucrats don't understand technology at all."
  12. **IBNLIVE
  13. Times of India (14 Sep 2006) "Constitutional expert Sarbajit Roy, who has also challenged the ministry's notification in the high court, said"
  14. IBNlive (18 Jun 2007) "Sarbajit Roy, a man who found time to stall the Delhi sealing drive, have CAS repealed and get telecom operators regulated"
  15. Livemint (15 Jun 2012), "RTI critic Sarbajit Roy, public interest litigation advocate", better known as the man who wrote India’s first computer virus"
  16. FIPS Forum (25 Jan 2014) "Conference proceedings, Financial Inclusion and Payment Systems, National Convenor 'INDIA AGAINST CORRUPTION'"
  17. IAC wants Congress under RTI
  18. IAC RTI notice served on Rahul Gandhi


As an information activist since 1982 and a prolific user of RTI process since 2001, Sarbajit Roy participated extensively in the drafting of the Delhi RTI Act 2001 and also the RTI Act 2005. In 2005, Sarbajit filed India's first national RTI application, the first RTI Complaint as well as the first RTI Appeal to the Central Information Commission. In 2006 Sarbajit brought the private electricity companies of Delhi (DISCOMS) under RTI, but the matter is in Court. In 2009, Roy got the highly unpopular Central Information Commission Regulations struck down by the Delhi High Court.