Any business without regulation would create more troubles than solutions. The same is unfortunately happening in the case of e-commerce. Since e-commerce was a new filed in India, it was logical to give it some time to settle. However, the information technology act, 2000 was enacted more than a decade ago and this is sufficient time for allowing the e-commerce to function in India almost in an unregulated manner.
However, some heavy weight legal experts have thrown their weight against such unregulated e-commerce activities in India. According to Asia’s exclusive techno legal ICT law firm Perry4Law, India must suitably regulate e-commerce activities in India.
Fortunately, the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), India released a Discussion Paper (Pdf) on e-commerce in India. The paper has endorsed the views and suggestions provided by Perry4Law regarding regulation of e-commerce in India.
The paper has also endorsed the view of Perry4Law that legal requirements for undertaking e-commerce in India also involve compliance with other laws like Contract Law, Indian Penal Code, etc. Further, online shopping in India also involves compliance with the banking and financial norms applicable in India.
The paper also cautioned the online payment providers on the exact line as have been done by Perry4Law. It also gave the same example of Paypal as provided by Perry4Law and states that if PayPal has to allow online payments receipt and disbursements for its existing or proposed e-commerce activities, it has to take a license from Reserve Bank of India (RBI) in this regard. Further, cyber law due diligence (Pdf) for Paypal and other online payment transferors in India is also required to be observed.
Foreign e-commerce companies have been lobbying in India to make Indian e-commerce business regulation free. However, Indian government should not succumb to the pressure tactics and lobbying by these foreign companies.
It is high time for Indian government to take a strong stand against the arbitrariness and lawlessness by which the Indian e-commerce industry is suffering. The sooner this is done the better it would be for the larger interest of Indian consumers.