Contract Act connected with Information Technology Act .
by – Pallabi Paul:-
Indian Contract Act 1872 is based on the principles of Common Law ,it is the law relating to Contact in India and is the key act regulating Indian Contract Law.It is applicable to all the states in India,
Under Section 2(h) of the Indian Contract Act 1872 defines Contract as “Agreement enforable by Law.
Section 11 of the Indian Contract Act 1872 states who is competent to contract provided- ~
He must have attained the age of 18 years and he shouldn’t be minor.
~He must be of sound mind ,while making a contract.A person who is usually of un sound mind but occasionally of sound mind can make a contract if he is found of sound mind.
~The contract formed must be free from coercion,undue influence, mistake,misrepresentation,etc
~There must be a lawful consideration for lawful object.
~He is not disqualified from performing any contract by any law
The provisions of Information Technology Act provides legal recognition to electronic contract particularly Section 10A of Information Technology Act.The only requirement to validate a contract is compliance with the necessary ingredients of Contract Under Indian Contract Act 1872.
Definition of E – Contract
E Contract is a contract modelled ,specified,executed,and deployed by a software systems.E Contract are very similar to traditional form of Contract under Indian Contract Act 1872.Vendors present their products ,prices and terms, to prospective buyers .Buyers consider their options,negotiate price and terms,place order and make payment.Then vendors delivered the purchasers product .
This Section 10A of IT Act States that –
Section 10A Validity of Contract formed through electronic means –
“Where in a contract formation,the communication of proposals ,the acceptance of proposals ,the revocation of proposals and acceptance as the case may be are expressed in electronic form or in electronic records ,such contract shall not be deemed to be unenforceable solely on the ground that such electronic form or means was used .”
The above provision was introduced by Information Technology Amendment Act 2008 after recognizing growing dependence on electronic means to reach commercial agreements.
There are several cases where Indian Courts dealth with E Contract and its validity of the e contract .In LIC Vs Consumer Education and Research Centre the Supreme Court held that “In dotted line contracts there is no occation for a weaker party to bargain as to assume to have equal bargaining power .He has either to accept or leave the service or goods in terms of the dotted line contract .His option would be either to accept the unreasonable or unfair terms or forgot the service forever”.
How E Contract are entered into –
Contracts can be entered into through modes of communication like email,internet,and fax.The regulation and recognition of E Contract is provided by various laws like Information Technology Act 2000 and Indian Evidence Act 1872.The provisions of Information Technology Act mentions about the attribution ,acknowledgement and dispatching of electronic record and secured electronic procedures.The IT Act recognizes basic feature of Contract that are offering of contract,acceptance of Contract ,revocation of proposals and acceptances as the case may be which could be either in electronic form or by means of electronic records.
Furthermore the recognition of electronic contract is accorded under Indian Evidence Act ,by the term documents include contained in electronic records which is printed in paper,stored ,recorded and copied in optical or magnetic media produced by a computer.Such information are in conformity with the conditions of Sec 65B of Information Technology which shall be admissible in any proceedings.without any further proof or production of the original before the concerned authority.
Validity of E Contract
The Indian Contract Act 1872 has recognized the traditional agreements which includes oral contract made by person competent to enter into by free consent with lawful.consideration and for lawful object and are not expressly declared to be void.Hence,there is no provision in this Act which prohibits the enforceability of Electronic agreement provided that the essential element of Contract are present .
Chapter 4 of the IT Act contains provisions relating to Electronic Contracting .Section 11,12,13 of the IT Act deals with Attribution,Acknowledgement and dispatching of Electronic contract .
Sec 11 mandates that electronic record in the given context has to be attributed to the originator.
1)If the record was sent by originator himself
2)If the record sent by person attributable to the originator to act so with regard to specific record.
3) By a system which was programmed either by the originator or the person authorized to do so to operate automatically or otherwise.
According to Section 12 of IT Act when the originator aggreed with the a dresser that the acknowledgement of receipt of electronic records be given in a particular form and in a particular method ,an acknowledgement may be given –
(A) An communication by the addressee ,automated or otherwise
(B) Any conduct of addressee sufficient to address the originator that the electronic record has been received.
As per Section 13(1) of IT Act save as otherwise agreed to between originator and addressee,the dispatch of electronic record occurs when it enters a computer resource outside the control of originator.
Section 13(2) of the IT Act save as otherwise agreed to between originator and addressee,,the time if dispatch of electronic record shall be determined as follows –
(A) If the addressee has designed the computer resource for the purpose of receiving electronic record.-
(I) receipt occurs at the time when the electronic records enters the designated computer resource.
(ii) if the electronic record is sent to the computer resource of the addressee that is not the designated computer resource receipt occurs at the time when the electronic records is retrieved by the addressee.
(B) If the addressee has not designated the Computer resource along with the specific timing if any, receipt occurred when the electronic records enters the computer resource of addressee.
Illegigal activities in Electronic contract area –
The Information Technology Act presents the legislation around electronic commerce,electronic contract ,electronic signatures moreover it regulates the cyber crime and describes penalty.Furthermore to setting of the electronic content the IT A 2000 additionally outlines the consequences of cyber crime .
Section 65 – Tamping with the documents of the .computer that are required to be kept by regulation is punishable Up to 3 years of imprisonment with fine.
Section 66 – Hacking right into a laptop device .A hack is constituted by individuals with harmful rationale deletion or changing records pc information ,and the punishment for it is Up to imprisonment for 3 years along with fine.
Section 66B – Receiving a stolen laptop or verbal exchange device ,is punishable Up to imprisonment for certain years with fine.
Section 66C – Using someone’s password and digital signature is punishable with imprisonment Up to 3 years and fine.
Section 66D – Cheating through an electronic communication or pc resource is punishable Up to imprisonment for 3 years with fine .
Hyderabad e tender hacking case in 2016 – In this case,hackers has hacked the complete e tender plan and allegedly charged Rs 15,000 per e tender information to government of Telangana.
Anwar Baseer Vs P.K Basheer 2014 AIR 2014 SC W 5695- In this case ,the Supreme Court revised the law of electronic evidence .The judgment will have impact on the manner in which the wiretaps are brought before the Court.
By -Pallabi Paul
She is pursuing her B.A.LL.B(H) from Law Department, Assam University Silchar,Assam