India Needs A New And Better Cyber Law And The Old One Must Be Repealed

PRAVEEN-DALAL-MANAGING-PARTNER-OF-PERRY4LAW-CEO-PTLBThe Information Technology Act, 2000 (IT Act 2000) is the exclusive Law that deals with Cyber Law aspects in India. The Law was passed in the year 2000 and it has served its purpose. The Cyber Law of India has also been amended a few times but mostly to give effect to Indian Government’s “Own Objectives”. For instance, the Amendments made in the year 2008 in the Information Technology Act were “Dominantly” meant to confer “Unlimited and Uncontrolled E-Surveillance Powers” upon Indian Government and its Agencies. So in a way, the Cyber Law of India has “Failed to Achieve” the Objectives with which it was enacted. This is also the reason why I have also suggested that the Cyber Law of India should be Repealed.

However, before the present Cyber Law is repealed, we must formulate a Techno Legal Cyber Law Framework for India. The same is also required to meet the demands of Conflict of Laws in the Cyberspace. The proposed Cyber Law must not be a Comprehensive or “Panacea Legislation”. The different aspects like E-Governance, E-Commerce, Cyber Crimes, Cyber Security, Cyber Forensics, etc must be suitably regulated with “Dedicated Legal Frameworks” in these fields. Presently, everything has been “Stuffed into a Single Legislation” that is defeating the very purpose of the Law.

Recently, we released the Cyber Law Trends of India 2013 (PDF). The Trends clearly reflect the problems with which the Indian Cyber Law is suffering. Unfortunately, Indian Government has failed to act in a timely manner and formulate a “Proper and Constitutional Law” in this crucial field.

Indian Government has its own “Legislative Problems” when it comes to drafting and passing of Crucial Laws. The “Distribution of Powers” between the Centre and State Government under the Indian Constitution has “Forced” Indian Government to remain committed to even the most Draconian Laws like the IT Act, 2000 and the Indian Telegraph Act, 1885. Although the Central Government is “Befitting” from this “Status Quo” of Colonial and Unconstitutional Legislations, the Nation at large is at the “Receiving End”.

In fact, the Indian Telegraph Act has not been touched and it is updated from time to time through “Self Serving Amendments”. Similarly, the IT Act, 2008 Amendments were introduced and passed without any “Debate or Discussion” by Indian Parliament at the time when the Country faced serious Terrorist Attack in Mumbai. No Political Party, including the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), dared to challenge the same at such turbulent times.

It is high time for Indian Government to rise above its “Own Interests” and formulate “Dedicated Laws” for Cyber Law, Cyber Security, Cyber Forensics, E-Discovery, E-Governance, E-Commerce, etc. If Indian Government lacks the Techno Legal Expertise to Draft such Laws, help of External People and Institutions can also be taken. But the Indian Government must act as soon as possible in this regard.

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