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Development of IT Sector of Law

The concerned article involves the growth, development and importance of IT sector of law. The article involves the history of IT in the legal sector, the development of the same, list of few offences covered by the act, recent developments with respect to right of privacy under the scope of article 21 and a short conclusion

The history of IT in the legal sector

With the inventions of computer, mobile phones, applications have revolutionized the digital platform in every working sector. Businesses and consumers are increasingly using computers to create, transmit and store information electronically, sales operations take place via technology and technology in one way or the another is used by everyone. International as well as national trade through the medium of E-commerce is growing rapidly.

Looking at the importance of technology The United Nations Commission on International Trade Law adopted a model law on electronic commerce in 1996. The general assembly of united nations by its resolution no 51/162, dated 30th January,1997, recommended that all states should give favourable consideration to the said model law which provides for the equal legal treatment for the users of electronic communication and paper-based communication. After this there were several legislative developments in the different countries.

Same was done by the Indian government by introducing the IT Act, 2000. It is an act to provide legal recognition for the transaction carried out by the means of electronic data interchange and other means of electronic communication, commonly referred to as the electronic commerce which involve the use of alternatives to paper-based methods of communication and storage of information, to facilitate electronic filing of documents with the government agencies and further to amend the Indian Penal code, The Indian Evidence Act,1872, the banker’s book evidence act,1891 and the reserve bank India act,1934 and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.

The Development of IT rules in India

The IT sector of law in India covered two major parts, first it ensures the smooth functioning of the E- commerce and protects an individual from theft and fraud that would happen on the online portals and second aspect of the act is to ensure that the abuses of human body and privacy are protected in every possible way.

The IT act of 2000 includes the chapters like electronic governance, regulation of certifying authorities, a list of offences that come under this data privacy laws and the procedure that is to be followed apart from this along with the development of the technology has always been updated, apart from the provisions of the act in 2000, there have been formulation of several IT rules over the years. From between 2000-2018 there was been several IT rules that have been incorporated few of them are mentioned in the next segment of the report.[1]

The Information Technology Rules

  • The first IT rule was in the year 2000 itself which was called as the cyber regulations appellate tribunal (procedure) rules, 2000
  • The next was in year 2001 which was with respect to the information technology (certifying authority) regulations, 2001
  • The information technology (other powers of civil court vested in cyber appellate tribunal rules 2003
  • The information technology (qualification and experience of adjudicating officers and manner of holding enquiry rules, 2003
  • The information technology (use of electronic records and digital signatures rules 2004
  • The information technology (security procedure) rules 2004
  • The cyber regulations appellate tribunal, gazetted and non-gazetted post recruitment rules 2008
  • The department of information technology ministry of communications and information technology, controller of certifying authorities, gazetted and non-gazetted posts recruitment rules 2009
  • The information technology procedure and safeguards interception monitoring and decryption of information rules 2009 (procedure and safeguard for monitoring and collecting traffic date or information rules, 2009
  • The digital signature (end entity) rules, 2015
  • And the latest one was the information technology information security and procedures for protected system rules 2018
India is always known for its culture some of which was also stereotypical and talking about this was considered to be a taboo however the major developments in the IT sector of have been a remarkable revolution which ensures the protection of individuals from several kinds of offences like terrorism, bullying, stalking, pornography ,sexually abuse and so the ratio of which increased due to the advancement of the technology.

Cyber Terrorism

Section 66-F Punishment of cyber terrorism:

  1. Whoever-
    1. with intent to threaten the unity, integrity, security or sovereignty of India or to strike terror in the people or any section of the people by-
      1. denying or cause the denial of access to any person authorised to access computer resource; or
      2. attempting to penetrate or access a computer resource without authorisation or exceeding authorised access; or
      3. introducing or causing to introduce any computer contaminant, and by means of such conduct causes or is likely to cause death or injuries to persons or damage to or destruction of property or disrupts or knowing that it is likely to cause damage or disruption of supplies or services essential to the life of the community or adversely affect the critical information infrastructure specified under Section 70; or

    2. knowingly or intentionally penetrates or accesses a computer resource without authorisation or exceeding authorised access, and by means of such conduct obtains access to information, data or computer database that is restricted for reasons of the security of the State or foreign relations; or any restricted information, data or computer database, with reasons to believe that such information, data or computer database so obtained may be used to cause or likely to cause injury to the interests of the sovereignty and integrity of India, the security of the State, friendly relations with foreign States, public order, decency or morality, or in relation to contempt of court, defamation or incitement to an offence, or to the advantage of any foreign nation, group of individuals or otherwise, commits the offence of cyber terrorism.

  2. Whoever commits or conspires to commit cyber terrorism shall be punishable with imprisonment which may extend to imprisonment for life.
    Section 67 Punishment for publishing or transmitting obscene material in electronic form:
Whoever publishes or transmits or causes to be published or transmitted in the electronic form, any material which is lascivious or appeals to the prurient interest or if its effect is such as to tend to deprave and corrupt persons who are likely, having regard to all relevant circumstances, to read, see or hear the matter contained or embodied in it, shall be punished on first conviction with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three years and with fine which may extend to five lakh rupees and in the event of second or subsequent conviction with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to five years and also with fine which may extend to ten lakh rupees.

Section 67A in The Information Technology Act, 2000

Punishment for publishing or transmitting of material containing sexually explicit act, etc., in electronic form. -Whoever publishes or transmits or causes to be published or transmitted in the electronic form any material which contains sexually explicit act or conduct shall be punished on first conviction with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to five years and with fine which may extend to ten lakh rupees and in the event of second or subsequent conviction with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to seven years and also with fine which may extend to ten lakh rupees.

Section 67B in The Information Technology Act, 2000

Punishment for publishing or transmitting of material depicting children in sexually explicit act, etc., in electronic form.
Whoever-
  1. publishes or transmits or causes to be published or transmitted material in any electronic form which depicts children engaged in sexually explicit act or conduct; or
  2. creates text or digital images, collects, seeks, browses, downloads, advertises, promotes, exchanges or distributes material in any electronic form depicting children in obscene or indecent or sexually explicit manner; or
  3. cultivates, entices or induces children to online relationship with one or more children for and on sexually explicit act or in a manner that may offend a reasonable adult on the computer resource; or
  4. facilitates abusing children online, or
  5. records in any electronic form own abuse or that of others pertaining to sexually explicit act with children, shall be punished on first conviction with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to five years and with fine which may extend to ten lakh rupees and in the event of second or subsequent conviction with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to seven years and also with fine which may extend to ten lakh rupees:
Provided that provisions of section 67, section 67A and this section does not extend to any book, pamphlet, paper, writing, drawing, painting representation or figure in electronic form-
The publication of which is proved to be justified as being for the public good on the ground that such book, pamphlet, paper, writing drawing, painting representation or figure is in the interest of science, literature, art or learning or other objects of general concern; or which is kept or used for bona fide heritage or religious purposes.
Explanation. -For the purposes of this section "children" means a person who has not completed the age of 18 years.

Section 67C in The Information Technology Act, 2000

Preservation and retention of information by intermediaries:
  1. Intermediary shall preserve and retain such information as may be specified for such duration and in such manner and format as the Central Government may prescribe.
  2. Any intermediary who intentionally or knowingly contravenes the provisions of sub-section (1) shall be punished with an imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years and also be liable to fine.
With respect to the technology and crimes there have been developments in Indian Penal code as well as part III of the Indian Constitution. For example, stalking on social media under Indian Penal Code, is a criminal process and right to privacy is a fundamental right that is recognized under article 21.

Staking on social media has been explicitly explained in the Indian Penal code

  1. Any man who:
    1. follows a woman and contacts, or attempts to contact such woman to foster personal interaction repeatedly despite a clear indication of disinterest by such woman; or
    2. monitors the use by a woman of the internet, email or any other form of electronic communication, commits the offence of stalking:
      Provided that such conduct shall not amount to stalking if the man who pursued it proves that-
      1. it was pursued for the purpose of preventing or detecting crime and the man accused of stalking had been entrusted with the responsibility of prevention and detection of crime by the State; or
      2. it was pursued under any law or to comply with any condition or requirement imposed by any person under any law; or
      3. in the particular circumstances such conduct was reasonable and justified.
  2. Whoever commits the offence of stalking shall be punished on first conviction with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three years, and shall also be liable to fine; and be punished on a second or subsequent conviction, with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to five years, and shall also be liable to fine.
    In the recent ‘Bois Locker Room’ mandate, the accused were charged under Indian Penal Code as well as under the information technology act.

Right to privacy under article 21

The issue with respect to the same was questioned in the case of K.S. Puttaswamy v. Union of India where it was held that right to privacy is a fundamental right under the part three of the constitution. This judgement has strength the IT laws as well which are meant to insure the web privacy.

Conclusion
IT in 2020 plays and important role, especially the usage of IT has been increased in the times of Covid 19 as all the economic and non-economic activities are regulated by it, thereby with the growth of technology it is essential to have a governance too, which are developing in terms of national and international level.

In the end it is humbly submitted that in today’s time the major activities depend on the technology and there by it is important for the state to have such a legislation which protects the individuals from the crimes of the web.

References:
  • Published documents of United Nations
  • The Information Technology Act 2000
  • The Information Technology Rules
  • The Indian Penal Code, 1860
  • Right to Privacy

End-Notes:
  1. In total there are 29 IT rules from 2000-2018

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