The Supreme Court website was hacked a little before noon on April 19, an official of the Electronics and IT Ministry said. The official said the Supreme Court had its independent systems and these were not managed by the National Informatics Centre (NIC), which comes under the Ministry. “CERT-In [the cyber security arm of the government] has advised the Supreme Court official on the steps to restore the website,” the official said. It could not be confirmed who hacked the website.
The website, which had turned “non-functional” from 11.35 a.m. IST, became accessible only at around 7.50 p.m.
One of the screen shots of the top court web page circulating on some social media sites showed signs left by some Brazilian hackers who may have targeted it. An image of cannabis leaves, with a message saying “hackeado por HighTech Brazil HacTeam”, could be seen.
Later in the day, when attempts to reach the website at supremecourtofindia.nic.in was made, the result read: “site under maintenance“.
The website had gone down, hours after a bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra delivered a hard-hitting judgement relating to the death of special CBI Judge B H Loya, who was hearing the Sohrabuddin Sheikh encounter case.
The journalists who were waiting for the verdict to be uploaded on the site made frantic queries with the concerned authorities about the suspected hacking.
While the officials remained non-committal about the hacking and as the time was ticking away, a press note was issued from the apex court registry that while the website remained non-functional. The registry sent soft copies of the judgement to the media in view of the “unavoidable circumstances” due to non-functioning of the website.
The registry said that the official website stopped functioning “due to some technical snag”. Normally, the orders of the day are uploaded on the site every evening.
The judgement was, however, was uploaded on the internal server of the apex court at 1.15 pm, in public domain, it said, but the scribes were informed about the availability of the judgement an hour after the normal court hours, that is 4 pm.
“Queries were received in the registry regarding the time by which the judgement could be accessed from the official website. The technical team was continuously on the job to rectify the official website page online.
“As the process of restoring the official website would have taken some more time, it was decided to dispense soft copy of the judgement to the media persons through the undersigned. The copying branch of the Supreme Court was also instructed to provide copies of the judgement to anyone making request in that behalf.
“These steps have been taken by the Supreme Court Registry in view of the unavoidable circumstances due to non-functioning of the official website,” it said.