Information Technology Act

 

India is one of the few countries other than U.S.A, Singapore, Malaysia in the world that have Information Technology Act to promote E-Commerce and electronic transactions. Indian parliament has already passed the legislation known as Information Technology Act 2000 drafted by the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology. The Act is based on the "United Nations Commission on International Trade Law" (UNCITRAL) model Law on Electronic Commerce.

The passing of the Information Technology Act by the Indian Parliament and the consequent amendments to the Indian Evidence Act, etc. has now paved way for the legal recognition of transactions carried out by means of "electronic commerce." Electronic commerce can now be carried out by persons to whom a "Digital Certificate" is issued. Any person to whom such certificate is issued can now authenticate an electronic record by affixing his digital signature to the document.

It is important for us to know as to what the Act provides. The job of drafting legislation for law related to E-commerce and Internet becomes difficult in view of some of the peculiar features of the cyber world.

Some of the peculiar features of the cyber world are: - a) No physical boundaries. b) No writing. c) No handwritten signature, seals, thumb impression. d) Lack of Security, risk factor high. e) Taxes, rules, regulations, between Countries not clearly defined. f) Technology fast changing. g) Ignorance of Common man about technology. h) No single authority over Internet who can decide.

The objectives of the Act are:

  • There is a need for bringing in suitable amendments in the existing laws in our country to facilitate e-commerce. It is, therefore, proposed to provide for legal recognition of electronic records and digital signatures. This will enable the conclusion of contracts and the creation or rights and obligations through the electronic medium. It is also proposed to provide for a regulatory regime to supervise the Certifying Authorities issuing Digital Certificates. To prevent the possible misuse arising out of transactions and other dealings concluded over the electronic medium, it is also proposed to create civil and criminal liabilities for contravention of the provisions of the proposed legislation.

  • With a view to facilitate Electronic Governance, it is proposed to provide for the use and acceptance of electronic records and digital signatures in the Government offices and its agencies. This will make the citizens interaction with the Governmental offices hassle free.

  • It is also proposed to make consequential amendments in the Indian Penal Code and the Indian Evidence Act, 1872 to provide for necessary changes in the various provisions, which deal with offences relating to documents, and paper based transactions. It is also proposed to amend the Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934 to facilitate electronic fund transfers between the financial institutions and banks and the Bankers' Books Evidence Act, 1891 to give legal sanctity for books of account maintained in the electronic form by the banks.

 

Highlights of the Information Technology Act 2000

  • Electronic Contracts will be legally valid.

  • LEGAL recognition of Digital signatures.

  • Digital signature to be effected by use of asymmetric crypto system and hash function.

  • Security procedure for Electronic records and Digital signature.

  • Appointment of Certifying Authorities (CAs) and Controller of Certifying Authorities including recognition of foreign Certifying Authorities.

  • Controller to Act as repository of all Digital Certificates.

  • Certifying Authorities to get license to issue Digital Certificates.

  • Various types of computer crimes defined and stringent penalties provided under the Act.

  • Appointment of Adjudicating Officer for holding inquiries under the Act.

  • Establishment of Cyber Appellate Tribunal under the Act.

  • Appeal from order of Adjudicating Officer to Cyber Appellate Tribunal and not to any Civil Court.

  • Appeal from order of Cyber Appellate Tribunal to High Court.

  • Act to apply for offences or Contraventions committed outside India.

  • Network Service providers not to be liable in certain cases.

  • Power of Police Officers and other Officers to enter into any public place and search and arrest without warrant.

  • Constitution of Cyber Regulations Advisory Committee who will advice the Central Government and Controller.

  • Amendments in Indian Penal Code, Indian Evidence Act, Banker's Books Evidence Act and Reserve Bank of India Act

 

The Information Technology Act 2000 does not cover the following legal issues.

  • Taxation Issues arising out of e-commerce ,Internet, m-commerce

  • Intellectual Property Rights such as Digital Copyright Issues, Trade Marks, Patents

  • Domain Name Registration Policy ,Domain Name Disputes, Cybersquatting

  • Privacy and Data Protection Issues

  • Junk Mail and Spamming

     

    For Further Details visit http://cca.gov.in

    Click here to view the IT Act 2000 Online

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