E-Commerce Regulations And Laws In India

Electronic commerce is an area whose legal formalities cannot be taken lightly. Electronic commerce involves multiple jurisdictions and at times multiple laws of different countries are applicable to a single electronic commerce website.

Further, the landscape for electronic commerce dispute resolution in India is also fast changing. With more and more stress upon online disputes resolution (ODR) in India electronic commerce disputants now prefer ODR as a mechanism for dispute resolution. Corporate disputes resolution through ODR in India is also being explored. E-courts and ODR have also added their own valued to electronic commerce and corporate dispute resolutions in India.

Electronic commerce in India is witnessing a good growth due to progressive policies and liberal foreign direct investments (FDIs). E-commerce uses information and communication technology (ICT) to operate. Although many technological aspects are also taken care of by an e-commerce platform, yet establishment and running of an e-commerce website is the most important requirement.

Internet is boundary less and a website hosted in a particular country can be accessed from any part of the world. Further, there may be cases where a websites located in a particular country may attract legal jurisdictions of multiple countries. Thus, compliance with the laws of the principal country as well as those countries where such e-commerce websites targets audience and customers is of prime importance.

There have been instances where e-commerce websites located in India failed to observe cyber law due diligence in India and e-commerce regulations and laws in India. Criminal trials and criminal liabilities have been imposed by Indian legal system upon such websites. The bazee.com case and the criminal and civil trials against companies like Google, Yahoo, Facebook, Microsoft, etc are few examples of the same. Such cases against e-commerce websites and foreign companies would further increase and e-commerce players must appoint nodal officers in India to comply with Indian laws.

Thus, not only legal requirements for undertaking e-commerce in India are stringent but even Internet intermediaries liability in India must be taken seriously by companies engaged in online transactions and businesses. We have no dedicated e-commerce laws in India but the information technology act 2000 (IT Act 2000) covers basic level e-commerce legal framework in India. The IT Act 2000 also prescribes cyber due diligence for foreign websites in India.

E-commerce due diligence in India is a much needed requirement that all e-commerce players, whether Indians or foreign, must undertake as soon as possible. Non observation of local and foreign laws can tarnish the image and brand of a company that cannot be regained again. It is better to err on the side of precaution rather than caught on the wrong side of the law.