Saturday, September 26, 2009

Indian Information Technology Amendment Act 2009 In Pipeline

Cyber Law of India is in real bad shape and it requires immediate attention and amendments. The Law Ministry of India has finally shown some interest in this regard by accepting the suggestions of experts like Praveen Dalal.

The Information Technology Amendment Act, 2008 (IT Act 2008) has been passed on 23rd December 2008 and received the assent of President of India on 5th February, 2009. However, it has not been “notified” yet (till 24th September 2009) and if we are honest it is not difficult to realise that it would never be notified despite ignorant contrary claims. This uncertainty has even resulted in wrong prosecutions that are not justified by any law or practice. The fact is that no rights and liabilities can be claimed under the Act 2008 till it is notified by the Central Government U/S 1(2) of the Act 2008.

Although some misinformed and ignorant cyber law observers believe that the IT Act 2008 is a good piece of law yet the Law Ministry of India must remain unaffected and unguided by their claims. The Law Ministry must avoid falling into the traps of the self claimed cyber law experts who are neither lawyers nor have knowledge of cyber law. Further, the Ministry must also not pay much attention to the “bureaucratic alliances and favours” to the industry players who are lobbying real hard to make the Information Technology Act, 2000 (IT Act, 2000) a weak piece of legislation.

It would be good idea to consult real and knowledgeable techno-legal experts this time by the Law Ministry. Praveen Dalal, the leading Techno-Legal Expert of India and Managing Partner of Perry4Law opined that the Law Ministry of India would commit a big mistake by approving the present IT Act, 2008. On the contrary he suggested that the Law Ministry must “reformulate” the amendments and should come up with the Information Technology Amendment Act, 2009 (IT Act 2009).

The Law Ministry of India has accepted the suggestions of Praveen Dalal regarding introducing IT Act, 2009, strengthening Extradition Law of India to effectively challenge the cyber crimes, including effective provisions regarding cyber war and cyber terrorism in India, International harmonisation of cyber law, providing sound cyber law and cyber security regime in India to encourage foreign direct investment and outsourcing to India, etc.

The IT Act 2009 is expected to be introduced within the next two months during the winter session of the Parliament. Let us hope that we can expect some sensible and effective legislation this time from the Law Ministry and Ministry/Department of Information Technology (DIT) that is neither based upon industry lobbying nor upon the naïve suggestions of the self claimed cyber law experts and corrupt and ignorant bureaucrats.