After a prolonged gestation the Information Technology Bill was
passed by the Parliament .The enactment of the Bill will remove the
biggest hurdle to E-Commerce, as the lack of legal infrastructure was
seen as a major impediment to the growth of E-Commerce in India.
Read what Anil Harish has to say on the Information technology Bill
The bill also amends related provisions of...
Indian Penal Code, Indian Evidence Act, Bankers Book Evidence Act,
Reserve Bank of India Act
What the bill aims to do...
Is to act as a Bridge between the Legal System based on the paper
system and the digital world based on Electronic Documents.
How it intends to satisfy the aim...
Is by promoting the use of Electronic Documents and the use of
digital signatures in the Commercial World.
And assisting in the growth and promotion of E-Commerce by setting
up of Secured Payment Mechanisms on the Internet.
By the provision of electronic documents and records...
are declared as legally equivalent to paper-based documents. Violations of
Copyrights of Materials, which are originally published in electronic
form or otherwise, can be handled under the normal legal system
itself. Earlier where the Law provided that the document should be
written or type-written or printed, now records in electronic forms
will be accepted as evidence in a court of law.
Filing of any forms, applications or any other documents with any
Government Agency may be made in the Electronic/Digital Form. Where
any records have to be maintained electronically for a specific
time/permanently, maintaining them electronically would be
sufficient compliance. Use of Electronic Documents by the Departments
of Government is optional. This will result in tremendous saving of
space earlier used for storage of documents as also save time in the
retrieval of them not to mention the speed of communication of such
And of digital signature...
Prior to the passing of the I.T. Bill the signature on the paper
documents was by way of writing ones name (in whatever language) or a
thumb Impression or in the case of a company by affixing the common
seal. The I.T.Bill now recognizes and accepts - Digital Signature -
that is signature on a document transmitted by the sending of Data in
an "encrypted " or coded form so as to prevent the data falling into
the wrong hands and being read by it.
Forming an electronic contract...
Where an offer is made and accepted electronically or through
Electronic Documents then such a document is an Electronic Agreement
and is valid and enforceable in law. In a Digital Contract the
parties must specify the e-mail address. This will spur the use of
the Internet for the purposes of various transactions including
banking or for the purposes of purchase of any goods and services on
the net and payment for the same will be made on the net. Acceptance
of terms and conditions of service contracts may be made on the net
by way of a digital signature. This will give a boost to E-Commerce
The I.T. Bill defines Electronic Crimes and suggests penalties.
They will no longer go unpunished.
Any person suspected of or guilty of commission of any Cyber Crime
including that of introducing a virus in the system, disrupting the
system, damaging data or publishing obscene information, shall be
punished with imprisonment or fine depending on the gravity of the
crime or both - ranging from Rs 10 m to 10 years of imprisonment.
What the bill fails to redress is...
Is " Spamming " or the infringement of Copyright Laws, the mode of
Authentication Of the Signature of the client/customer- whether you
are the person you claim to be, the Certifying Authority for the
Digital Signature Certificate is a crucial aspect in any E-Commerce
transaction, Non- Repudiation by contracting parties,
confidentiality during transmission of a document, integrity of
information during transmission, and the policing of the cyber
All the same the passing of the Bill is undoubtedly a giant leap for
the Indian E-Commerce Sector.