The Proposed Information Technology (Amendment) Bill, 2008: Some Reflections

February 16th, 2009 - 11:59 pm ICT by VKS  

A lot of debate is taking place about the proposed IT Act (Amendment) Bill, 2000 and its effectiveness. The web is full of comments from Indian citizens about the inadequacies of various provisions of the proposed bill. If we analyse the Bill, 2008 one thing is for sure. We Indians are going to be in big mess. Whether it is the power of electronic interception and surveillance or child pornography/pornography or cyber terrorism or any other stupid and thoughtless provision, the end result would remain the same, big mess and trouble for all of us. If we analyse the bill in detail it is clear that the hurry and unthoughtfulness of the legislatures has distorted the IT Act, 2000 further to a stage beyond repair. If still they have some common sense remained they must scrap the bill and come up with some good legislative draft. It is not clear whether the President of India has given her assent to the bill or not. If not, it would be a good idea to return the bill for reconsideration.

Some of the recent developments in this regard are very interesting. The legal enablement of ICT systems in India is in grave condition and nothing has been done so far by the Indian government. A few judges of the Supreme Court of India and other High courts have shown their dissatisfaction with the existing cyber law in India. The leading techno-legal expert/specialist of India Mr. Praveen Dalal, managing partner of Perry4law, has also criticised the proposed bill. It gets lot of weightage when someone of his caliber and stature criticises legislation. All these developments have even forced the officers of the government of India to admit that the bill 2008 requires further refinement and strength. The cyber law is heading towards a direction that is definitely not good for India.

While reformulating the bill, the government must keep in mind the requirements of cyber security and cyber forensics expertise that are currently missing in India. The judiciary must also strengthen their e-courts infrastructure and capabilities so that speedy justice may be a reality in India. The reformulated bill must also incorporate provisions in this regard. It would be a good idea to discuss the reformulated bill section wise so that a strong and effective cyber law may emerge. We request the government of India to consider these concerns of ours.

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