Foreign Companies like Google, Facebook, Microsoft, etc, have taken Indian Laws for granted for too long. It seems they have the support of Indian Government as the Policies and Regulatory Framework of India are such that they allow these Companies to “Slip Easily”. Even Indian Telecom Companies are engaging in behaviours that are not allowed within the current Legal Frameworks. The Information Technology Act, 2000 prescribes certain Cyber Laws Due Diligence Requirements (PDF) that Indian Telecom Companies are not following at all. For instance, the reports of Violations Of Cyber Law Due Diligence and Internet Intermediary Rules by Tata Teleservices Limited and Airtel are well known.
However, this situation cannot continue for too long as sooner or later Indian Government would be forced to take “Stringent Actions” against both domestic and foreign companies. In fact, the cyber litigations against foreign websites would increase in India in the near future. The Google’s online defamation case of India, initiated by Visaka Industries Ltd against Google, is just the beginning.
Google is also on the wrong side of many Indian Laws. For instance, Google is already violating many Laws of India, especially the Cyber Law of India. In fact, the G-Mail must be banned in India as it is “Abetting and Encouraging the Commission of Cyber Crimes” against Indian Citizens and Organisations. India must ensure Techno Legal Measures to regulate Indian Cyberspace if it really wishes to curb the menace created by both domestic and foreign technology companies.
Google has been facing Conflict of Laws problems in India. While Google is adamant on following the United States Laws and Polices yet various stakeholders are insisting that Google must adhere to Indian Laws as well. Google has long used the Conflict of Laws Façade and Subsidiary Argument to evade applicability of Indian Laws. This is natural and there is nothing wrong in taking a legal stand like this. What is not understandable is why Indian Government is “not taking strict actions against Google” and its “Unregulated Services” in India.
We at Perry4Law believe that all Subsidiary/Joint Ventures Companies in India, especially those dealing in Information Technology and Online Environment, must mandatorily establish a server in India. Otherwise, such Companies and their Websites should not be allowed to operate in India. The Ministry of Home Affairs, India and Intelligence Bureau (IB) are already exploring this possibility.
A “Stringent Liability” for Indian Subsidiaries dealing in Information Technology and Online Environment must be established by Laws of India. More stringent online advertisement and e-commerce provisions must be formulated for Indian Subsidiary Companies and their Websites.
Now we have a good chance to remove the “Governmental Apathy” towards these crucial issues as the matter is coming for hearing on Monday before the Supreme Court of India. The Court should not be swayed away with the Subsidiary Argument that has been fooling Indian Judiciary for long. The Supreme Court is seized with the issue whether the Subsidiary of Google Inc. is liable for allegedly defamatory comments made on its blogging site. This is a big opportunity for Indian Supreme Court to “Streamline” Indian Laws in this regard.
Google has already lost the case in Andhra Pradesh High Court in 2011 and it has appealed to the Supreme Court. If Google loses again it will be held “Criminally Liable” for violation of various Indian Laws, including the Indian Penal Code, 1860 and the Information Technology Act, 2000.