The Information Technology Act, 2000 or ITA, 2000 or IT Act, was notified on October 17, 2000. It is the law that deals with cybercrime and electronic commerce in India. In this article, we will look at the objectives and features of the Information Technology Act, 2000.
Information Technology Act, 2000
In 1996, the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) adopted the model law on electronic commerce (e-commerce) to bring uniformity in the law in different countries.
Further, the General Assembly of the United Nations recommended that all countries must consider this model law before making changes to their own laws. India became the 12th country to enable cyber law after it passed the Information Technology Act, 2000.
While the first draft was created by the Ministry of Commerce, Government of India as the ECommerce Act, 1998, it was redrafted as the ‘Information Technology Bill, 1999’, and passed in May 2000.
Objectives of the Act
The Information Technology Act, 2000 provides legal recognition to the transaction done via electronic exchange of data and other electronic means of communication or electronic commerce transactions.
This also involves the use of alternatives to a paper-based method of communication and information storage to facilitate the electronic filing of documents with the Government agencies.
Further, this act amended the Indian Penal Code 1860, the Indian Evidence Act 1872, the Bankers’ Books Evidence Act 1891, and the Reserve Bank of India Act 1934. The objectives of the Act are as follows:
- Grant legal recognition to all transactions done via electronic exchange of data or other electronic means of communication or e-commerce, in place of the earlier paper-based method of communication.
- Give legal recognition to digital signatures for the authentication of any information or matters requiring legal authentication
- Facilitate the electronic filing of documents with Government agencies and also departments
- Facilitate the electronic storage of data
- Give legal sanction and also facilitate the electronic transfer of funds between banks and financial institutions
- Grant legal recognition to bankers under the Evidence Act, 1891 and the Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934, for keeping the books of accounts in electronic form.
Features of the Information Technology Act, 2000
- All electronic contracts made through secure electronic channels are legally valid.
- Legal recognition for digital signatures.
- Security measures for electronic records and also digital signatures are in place
- A procedure for the appointment of adjudicating officers for holding inquiries under the Act is finalized
- Provision for establishing a Cyber Regulatory Appellant Tribunal under the Act. Further, this tribunal will handle all appeals made against the order of the Controller or Adjudicating Officer.
- An appeal against the order of the Cyber Appellant Tribunal is possible only in the High Court
- Digital Signatures will use an asymmetric cryptosystem and also a hash function
- Provision for the appointment of the Controller of Certifying Authorities (CCA) to license and regulate the working of Certifying Authorities. The Controller to act as a repository of all digital signatures.
- The Act applies to offences or contraventions committed outside India
- Senior police officers and other officers can enter any public place and search and arrest without warrant
- Provisions for the constitution of a Cyber Regulations Advisory Committee to advise the Central Government and Controller.
Applicability and Non-Applicability of the Act
According to Section 1 (2), the Act extends to the entire country, which also includes Jammu and Kashmir. In order to include Jammu and Kashmir, the Act uses Article 253 of the constitution. Further, it does not take citizenship into account and provides extra-territorial jurisdiction.
Section 1 (2) along with Section 75, specifies that the Act is applicable to any offence or contravention committed outside India as well. If the conduct of person constituting the offence involves a computer or a computerized system or network located in India, then irrespective of his/her nationality, the person is punishable under the Act.
Lack of international cooperation is the only limitation of this provision.
According to Section 1 (4) of the Information Technology Act, 2000, the Act is not applicable to the following documents:
- Execution of Negotiable Instrument under Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881, except cheques.
- Execution of a Power of Attorney under the Powers of Attorney Act, 1882.
- Creation of Trust under the Indian Trust Act, 1882.
- Execution of a Will under the Indian Succession Act, 1925 including any other testamentary disposition
by whatever name called.
- Entering into a contract for the sale of conveyance of immovable property or any interest in such property.
- Any such class of documents or transactions as may be notified by the Central Government in the Gazette.
Solved Question for You
Q1. What are the objectives of the Information Technology Act, 2000?
The primary objectives of the IT Act, 2000 are:
- Granting legal recognition to all transactions done through electronic data exchange, other means of electronic communication or e-commerce in place of the earlier paper-based communication.
- Providing legal recognition to digital signatures for the authentication of any information or matters requiring authentication.
- Facilitating the electronic filing of documents with different Government departments and also agencies.
- Facilitating the electronic storage of data
- Providing legal sanction and also facilitating the electronic transfer of funds between banks and financial institutions.
- Granting legal recognition to bankers for keeping the books of accounts in an electronic form. Further, this is granted under the Evidence Act, 1891 and the Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934.