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The advent of e-commerce era - Views on News from Equitymaster
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  • May 20, 2000

    The advent of e-commerce era

    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 data.

    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 transactions.

    Computer crimes...
    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 crimes .

    All the same the passing of the Bill is undoubtedly a giant leap for the Indian E-Commerce Sector.



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