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THE IT ACT 2000 AMENDMENT BILL, 2006: MYTH OR REALITY

Author's name: 
Kunal
New Delhi, India

The Government of India (GOI) is planning to introduce in Parliament this month changes to the Information Technology Act, 2000 (IT Act, 2000). The IT Act, 2000 was enacted in the year 2000 and lots of changes have taken place from that point of time. The IT Ministry/Department of Information Technology (DIT) suggested the IT Act Amendment Bill in December 2006. However, the same was found inadequate and deficient by the Parliamentary Standing Committee that submitted its recommendations in September 2007. The recommendations by the Standing Committee largely endorsed the suggestions of Mr. Praveen Dalal (http://reclaiming-india.blogspot.com/), Managing Partner of Perry4Law(http://perry4law.com/index1.htm) and some other cyber law experts. It seems the GOI and DIT have also finally accepted the majority of suggestions of Mr. Praveen Dalal/Perry4Law regarding Proposed Amendments (http://publish.indymedia.org/en/2005/09/824485.shtml) in the IT Act, 2000. However, still a long distance has to be covered since lots of changes have already taken place since those suggestions were originally provided.

The IT Act was enacted in the year 2000. It contains provisions regarding e-commerce, e-governance, cyber crimes, etc. It is the exclusive cyber law in India. Since everything is incorporated into a single law, it was not drafted properly. This is the reason why India’s Leading Techno-Legal ICT Specialist, i.e. Mr. Praveen Dalal, Managing Partner of Perry4Law (India First and Exclusive Techno-Legal ICT Law Firm), felt that it is a “weak” and “ineffective” law. He provided his suggestions and recommendations from time to time to the Prime Minister of India (Dr. Manmohan Singh), President of India, Parliament Members, Government of India (GOI), Department of Information Technology (DIT), Department of Science and Technology (DST), CERT-IN, etc. It seems the hard work of Mr. Praveen Dalal has finally borne the fruit and the GOI is planning to bring suitable changes in the IT Act, 2000 on the lines suggested by him. Other cyber law experts have also played a role in giving the present amendments a shape and the collective result may come out in the form of a sound law.

However, there are some disturbing factors as well. The present amendments are not available for public scrutiny so far. During the year 2006 as well the GOI did the same thing. After a “protest” was shown by Mr. Praveen Dalal/Perry4Law and other stakeholders, they were finally made available. It seems the GOI is afraid of showing the newer amendments to cyber law experts of India. However, if they are not available for scrutiny, the shortcomings of the same cannot be pointed out. It is important to bear in mind that provisions regarding Cyber Terrorism, Phishing, Spam, Child Pornography, etc were included in the proposed amendments only after they were being suggested by cyber law experts like Mr. Praveen Dalal. The GOI must make the proposed amendments public so that they may be analysed and the doubt of “industry lobbying” is ruled out. Otherwise, people are justified in believeing that the GOI is trying to push “vested interests” under the garb of amendments. It was due to the incessant efforts of cyber law experts in India that we are witnessing some good changes in the IT Act, 2000. All the hard work would be wasted if the GOI keeps a mum and maintains the secretive attitude, says Mr. Praveen Dalal.

Some good Cyber Law, Cyber Security, Cyber Forensics and Techno-Legal Web Resources for Governmental and public reference in this regard are:

(a) Legal Enablement of ICT Systems in India- http://reclaiming-india.blogspot.com/

(b) Cyber Security and Cyber Forensics in India- http://computerforensicsinindia.blogspot.com/

© Techno-Legal News and Views in India- http://legalnewsandviews.blogspot.com/

(d) Cyber Law Working Group in India- http://perry4lawgroups.blogspot.com/ , etc.

It would be a good idea to seek public opinion and experts’ views for the proposed IT Act, 2000 amendments. The GOI must absolutely seek the expertise and suggestions of Perry4Law in general and Mr. Praveen Dalal in particular.

(1) The first discussion about these issues in India can be traced back to the year 2003-04 when various Cyber Law, Cyber Security and Techno-Legal Articles, including article titled “Cyber Terrorism In India”, were written by Mr. Praveen Dalal, Managing Partner of Perry4Law. However, very few people appreciated the importance of those issues (including noted cyber law experts of India) at that time. Now all of them, including the Government of India, have endorsed the views of Mr. Praveen Dalal.

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