– By Shruthika
Ecommerce has brought a paradigm shift in trading throughout the world. Although Indian ecommerce sector has witnessed an impressive growth rate in the recent years, the sector is still beset with some serious challenges. The etymological meaning of E-commerce is the businesses transaction of buying and selling of products and services by & customers solely through electronic medium, without using any paper documents.
Information Technology Act, 2000
The first ever law enacted by the Government of India on e-commerce was Information Technology (IT) Act 2000. It was an enactment to give effect the UNCITRAL Model Law on Electronic Commerce, 1996. The General Assembly of the United Nations adopted a resolution on January 30, 1997 commending the Model Law on Electronic Commerce for a favourable consideration by the Member States as a Model Law when they enact or revise their laws, in view of the need for uniformity of the law applicable to alternatives to paper‐based methods of communication and storage of information. The main aim of the IT Act was to provide legal recognition to the transactions carried out by the means of electronic data interchange and through other electronic means of communications, commonly referred to as electronic commerce (e-commerce).
Further, it provides for civil liability i.e., Cyber contraventions and criminal violations, penalties, establishment of the Adjudicating Authority and the Cyber Regulatory Appellate Tribunals.4 The related provisions of the Indian Panel Code, 1860, the Indian Evidence Act, 1872, Banker’s Book Evidence Act, 1891 and the Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934 were also amended to address the related issues of electronic commerce, electronic crimes and evidence, and to enable further regulation as regards electronic fund transfer.
Information Technology (Amendment) Act, 2008
India incorporated Information Technology (Amendment) Act, 2008 to give implementation of the UNCITRAL Model Law on Electronic Signatures, 2001 in India. The IT Act of 2000 was amended to make it technology‐neutral and recognized electronic signatures over restrictive digital signatures. The Act brought many changes such as introduction of the concept of e-signature, amendment of the definition of intermediary, etc. Besides, the state assumed specific powers to control websites in order to protect privacy on the one hand, and check possible misuse leading to tax evasions on the other hand. It is important to note that this act recognized the legal validity and enforceability of the digital signature and electronic records for the first time in India and also gave emphasis on the secure digital signatures and secure electronic records.
The rapid growth of e-commerce has created the need for vibrant and effective regulatory mechanisms, which would strengthen the legal infrastructure that is crucial to the success of e-commerce in India. It has always been the allegation that the weak cyber security laws in India and the absence of a proper e-commerce regulatory framework is the reason for what Indian people as well as the e-commerce industries face so many challenges in enjoying a consumer-friendly and business-confidant e-commerce environment in India