Following is a a copy of the note sent to MCIT by Naavi.org, a
premier Cyber Law Portal in India
The Ministry of
Comments on the Proposed Amendments to Information technology
According to Section 88 (3) of the ITA-2000, the Cyber Regulatory
Advisory Committee (CRAC) alone has the mandate to advise the
Government on any amendments to the Act. The procedure presently
adopted to constitute the Expert Committee and take its
recommendation for implementation is therefore not in accordance
with the provisions of law.
It is therefore suggested that the Expert committee’s report be
placed before CRAC for review and approval.
The Expert Committee’s report is conspicuous for the absence of
any attempt to address the more pressing needs of the E-Commerce
industry and Netizens in
India. It has failed
to recognize that Netizens are the pillars of E-Commerce and not
addressed needs such as Spam, Cyber Squatting, Cyber Stalking and
Cyber Terrorism, This is not conducive to the development of a
secure Cyber Space in
It is suggested that since another major amendment is not likely
to happen in the near future, the Government may consider inclusion
of these types of Crimes as part of ITA-2000 during this amendment
itself even if it is necessary to delay the implementation of the
recommendations for this purpose.
The cumulative impact of most of the amendments that have been
made is to weaken the penal provisions of the Act in case of
“Injury to Information Residing Inside a Computer”, “Obscenity in
Electronic Form”, “Prevention of Abuse of Women through Electronic
Documents”. This will adversely impact the growth of E-Commerce
since a trusted business environment is an essential factor for
It is therefore suggested that the reduction in the terms of
imprisonment under sections 66 and 67 are reconsidered.
The proposed amendments will make the Police in the Country
redundant in respect of most of the Cyber Crimes. This is an
unwise move considering the increasing trend of Cyber Crimes in
the country. If some of the suggestions in this regard are not
India is likely to
turn into a notorious haven for Cyber Criminals on a global scale.
It is therefore suggested that the powers of the Police are
restored to a reasonable level while at the same time checks and
balances to prevent abuse may be incorporated in the Act. Amendments
proposed to sections 80 and 69 in this context may therefore be
The data protection aspects available in ITA-2000 through Section
66 and Section 43 have now been weakened with the proposed
amendments. This coupled with the weakening of the powers of the
Police, will reduce the confidence of the International community
on the Indian Cyber regulatory framework and harm the prospects of
It is therefore suggested that Section 66 be restored to the
original form except for removing of the word “commits hacking”
which has assigned the name “hacking” to the section 66 offence.
Similarly it is suggested that section 43 (2) is suitably altered to
include privacy protection to individuals from all sections of data
handlers including non corporate data handlers and Intermediaries.
The Intermediaries in general have been provided an excessive
protection under the proposed amendments to the extent of breeding
negligence and sheltering of criminal activities under the
protective umbrella of being classified as an Intermediary. This
is contrary to the general principle that every citizen of the
country should shoulder a responsibility to take reasonable steps
to prevent crimes whether in the Cyber Space or otherwise and to
provide reasonable support to the Law enforcement authorities.
Further the benefits given to the Intermediaries widen the digital
divide in the society since the same level of protection are not
available to the intermediaries in the physical world nor to the
other industries in the IT and non IT sector. The provisions
regarding Intermediary protection are therefore discriminatory and
It is therefore suggested that the various amendments that have
been suggested by the Expert Committee under Sections 79, 72 and 67
The powers given to the adjudicators to compound criminal offences
without permission of the court and even when prosecution is
pending is amenable to an inefficient administration of justice
It is therefore suggested that the proposed amendments in this
regard under section 80A are reviewed.
Some of the changes made to Sections 66 and Sections 85 as well as
sections 79 and 72 have imposed an unreasonable burden on the
victims of a crime to prove abetment or connivance or intention to
cause injury etc on the corporate or the intermediary. This is
impractical and puts the general public at a disadvantage in
dealing with Cyber offences. This provides an undue advantage to
business entities against the consumers of their services. This is
expected to result in an erosion of Cyber Security in the long run
and increase the cost of IT usage by the public. It is considered
reasonable to impose certain responsibilities on the technology
savvy companies using the technology for commercial purpose.
It is therefore suggested that the requirement of due diligence
by Corporate entities and Intermediaries is not diluted and the
earlier provisions in this regard are restored.
The recommended amendments send a general signal that the Act
after amendments will be Anti-Consumer, Anti-Netizen, Anti-Women.
It also appears to be Criminal Friendly and unreasonably
protective of the Intermediaries. Cumulatively therefore the
suggested amendments are anti people and needs to be reviewed in
It is therefore suggested that the proposed amendments are placed
under the review with the CRAC and are simultaneously placed for a
national debate until a better version of the amendments are
While the expert committee took nearly 8 months to arrive at the
recommendations, the public have been given only 3 weeks to make
their comments. This is an unreasonable time frame for proper
evaluation of the suggestions which are prima-facie detrimental to
the interests of the general public.
Hence it is suggested that the last date for sending of public
comments is extended from September 19th by at least 3