The elections fever is gripping India but there seems to be no efforts regarding streamlining legal enablement of ICT systems in India. Cyber law in India is weak, cyber security missing and cyber forensics capabilities non-existent.
The Indian cyber law can be found in the Information Technology Act, 2000 (IT Act, 2000). After 8 years, amendments were proposed by the Indian government to keep it updated. Thus, Information Technology Amendment Bill, 2008 (Bill 2008) has been introduced and passed by the Parliament of India in December, 2008. It received the assent of President of India on 5th February, 2009. However, the Bill, 2008 has yet to be notified by the government in official gazette and till it is done so it would not come into force.
Already three months have passed from the passing of the Bill, 2008 by Parliament and it seems the Bill may be due for withdrawal or already withdrawn. There are no indications of either enactment of Rules under the IT Act, 2000 or its notification date. Even judges of Indian Supreme Court have shown their dissatisfaction with the existing cyber law of India. The leading techno-legal expert of India Mr. Praveen Dalal has also criticised the proposed Bill, 2008. It gets lot of weightage when someone of his caliber and stature criticises a proposed 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. IT Secretary Jainder Singh had declared that the ministry would shortly come up with fresh regulations to be added to Bill 2008 as there was criticism that the bill takes little care of the identified issues.
The Bill, 2008 may also be passed as it is or after some minor modifications. The government must either clear the Bill, 2008 and face the public criticism and resentment or openly come up with a statement that the Bill has been withdrawn. With the political party BJP coming up with the IT Agenda the votes and inclination of young generation can be in their favour. The strategic advantage of a weaker cyber law in India can go in BJP’s favour and the position is no less dangerous even if the Bill, 2008 is kept in the veil of secrecy. The safer recourse for the political party Congress seems to be to clear its stand on the Bill, 2008 in general and Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in particular.
Similarly, cyber security in India and cyber forensics in India are also missing. The government must not only enact a sound cyber law but also establish cyber security and cyber forensics capabilities. The government must also train judiciary, lawyers, police officers, intelligence agencies, etc in this regard. It is high time that India must do something regarding these aspects.
India must also pay some attention towards enforcement aspects of cyber law in India. Currently cyber crimes are proving to be a big trouble for law enforcement in India. Even the technical expertise required for solving cyber crimes is missing. This is more so regarding issues pertaining to wireless networks and their misuse. The elections are approaching fast and it would be a good idea to raise these issues before all political parties so that some attention may be given to these issues.