The history of e-commerce websites offences started with the arrest of Avnish Bajaj, CEO of auction site Baazee dotcom, when the website hosted a sexually explicit picture message of two Delhi school students. The case is infamously known as Delhi Public School MMS case and in the final outcome of the case, the FIR against Avnish Bajaj was quashed by the Supreme Court of India.
Thereafter the information technology act, 2000 was amended by the information technology amendment act, 2008. The proposed 2008 amendment was a retrograde step and that made the cyber law of India a big nuisance. Naturally, the cyber law of India should be repealed.
However, till the cyber law of India is repealed or made appropriate, it would keep on governing the cyberspace and online transactions by Indian and foreign individuals and companies. The cyber litigations against foreign and Indian websites would also increase in India in the near future.
The two important concepts that various websites owners and individuals must keep in mind are cyber law due diligence in India and Internet intermediary liability in India. In short, Internet intermediary laws in India and cyber due diligence must be duly complied with by all the e-commerce websites operating in India.
However, e-commerce websites in India are openly flouting the norms and regulations in India. For instance, e-commerce websites in India are engaging in punishable soft porn publication. It seems Indian e-commerce players have learnt no lesson from the Baazee’s case where the CEO was very lucky to go scot free. But this may not be the case as on date where the law and legal position has changed significantly.
As on date, the e-commerce websites dealing with online pharmacies, online gamming and gambling, online selling of adult merchandise, etc are openly and continuously violating the laws of India, especially the cyber law of India.
They do not understand that there are well recognised legal requirements to start an e-commerce website in India and the legal formalities required for starting e-commerce business in India. As on date, the e-commerce websites are not following such techno legal requirements.
The latest to add to this list is the arrest of Timtara.com CEO Harish Ahluwalia and Director Arindam Bose on allegations of fraud amounting to Rs 12 lakh. The police says they have received complaints from around 200 buyer, and three complaints have been registered with the Economic Offences Wing and Janakpuri Police Station. In the present case, though payments were made through credit cards yet the goods were never delivered.
Cash on delivery may harm e-commerce in India and this may be the reason why many e-commerce players are more interested in online cash payments. However, their supply management and delivery system is not upto the mark. This results in a mismatch between order placement, payment and actual delivery of the product.
Till e-commerce players are able to manage their affairs more efficiently and honestly, they must stick to cash on delivery concept as the element of cheating and non delivery are missing in such a scenario.
However, in the ultimate analysis nothing is better that complying with the e-commerce laws and regulations in India. E-commerce players in India must consult good techno legal professionals of their choice before launching their projects. Further, even if the project has been launched, they must get the same vetted by competent technology lawyers and law firms. Almost all the e-commerce players in India are committing the blunder of not taking essential legal help in this regard.
Perry4Law Organisation and Perry4Law’s Techno Legal Base (PTLB) wish all the best to various e-commerce players of India and abroad. If you need our unique techno legal professional services, you may contact us in this regard.