Posted by: Pritesh N Munjal | September 7, 2008

The Problems of Indian Cyber Law and Its Enforcement

The Matunga police recently transferred the investigations of the terror mail sent allegedly from Khalsa College to the cyber crime investigation cell (CCIC) of the Mumbai crime branch. The reason cited by them was that they were not well versed with computers and weren’t able to handle such“technical” cases.

The candid and honest attitude of Matunga police deserves appreciation. They are not trying to portray themselves as “techno-savvy cops”. At the same time this seems to be an alarming situation as well. The law enforcement in India seems to be helpless in front of modern technological crimes. India needs to tackle this problem as soon as possible. However, nothing concrete is happening in this direction. So where lies the problem?

According to Praveen Dalal, the leading Techno-Legal Specialist of India, “The problem seems to be multi facet in nature. Firstly, the cyber law of India contained in the IT Act, 2000 is highly deficient in many aspects. Thus, there is an absence of proper legal enablement of ICT systems in India. Secondly, there is a lack of cyber law training to the police, lawyers, judges, etc in India. Thirdly, the cyber security and cyber forensics capabilities are missing in India. Fourthly, the ICT strategies and policies of India are deficient and needs an urgent overhaul. Fifthly, the Government of India is indifferent towards the “ICT reforms” in India. This is resulting in a declining ranking of India in the spheres of e-readiness, e-governance, etc. While International communities like European Union, ITU, NATO, Department of Homeland Security, etc are stressing for an enhanced cyber security and tougher cyber laws, India seems to be treading on the wrong side of weaker regulatory and legal regime”.

This is just the tip of the iceberg and the problem is more alarming than it seems to be. In the absence of public awareness and inability of the police to deal with cyber crimes, most of these crimes and contraventions are not reported at all. Even if they are reported, they are not solved due to lack of cyber forensics capabilities in India. We must understand that cyber forensics capabilities do not mean acquiring tools and softwares but their actual application. We do not possess the “expertise” to apply these tools and softwares that are freely available at the Internet. While the offenders are technically sound law enforcement and judiciary is not.

We need to stress upon sound cyber law with effective law enforcement. We need to train police, lawyers, judges, etc for ICT related laws and procedures. However, nothing is going to happen till the matters are taken care of at the National Policy Level.

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