Whither Earlier Amendments to IPC and IEA?
The Information Technology Amendment Bill 2008
(ITAB2008) passed in the Loksabha on 22nd December 2008 and in Rajya Sabha
on December 23, 2008 made amendments to Information Technology Amendment
Bill 2006 introduced in the Parliament on December 15, 2006 which had
earlier been drafted to amend the principal act namely Information
Technology Act 2000.
[P.S: When the first
recommendations regarding the amendments to ITA 2000 was presented to the
public in the form of the Expert Committee report, Naavi.org had commented
that the "Expert Committee" had made amendments based on a version of ITA
2000 which had since then been amended. The expert committee was unaware of
the amendments and was working on a wrong base copy. Even the Ministry of
Communications and Information Technology (MCIT) hosts on its website (www.mit.gov.in)
only the obsolete version of ITA 2000 and the Expert Committee
recommendations even today the 9th January 2009. (View
copy of pages here). The updated version of ITA 2000 after amendments
made in 2003 regarding e-cheques etc as well as the version of ITA
amendment Bill 2006 which was amended by ITAB 2008 are now available only
on the naavi.org website.]
In working on the amendments through the
intermediary documents, the drafting of the ITAB 2008 appears to has
introduced a needless confusion which is presented below.
In the original ITA 2000, there were sections
91,92,93 and 94 which were linked to Schedules 1,2,3 and 4 and addressed
the concurrent amendments made to IPC, Indian Evidence Act, Bankers Book
Evidence Act and RBI Act. When the ITA 2000 was passed, these amendments
were given effect to in the respective parent legislations.
Now in the present amendments, Sections 91 to
94 have been omitted. Correspondingly, old schedules 1 to 4 have also got
eliminated. In their place two new schedules Schedule I and Schedule II
have been added. On the other hand, Part III and Part IV of the Bill have
respectively amended IPC and Indian Evidence Act.
This process has created a doubt about whether
the omission of Sections 91 to 94 of ITA 2000 has the effect of repealing
the amendments proposed by these sections and reverting the IPC and IEA to
the pre-ITA 2000 status.
While it is felt that this confusion could
have been avoided by simply leaving the current sections 91 to 94 intact
and adding a further section 95 to accommodate the amendments now proposed
under Part III and IV of the Bill, leaving the current schedules 1 to 4 in
tact and adding Schedules 5 and 6, the legislators have taken a decision to
do what they have now done.
The legislative intent however has to be
interpreted that Part III and IV of the Information Technology Amendment
Bill 2008 amends the current versions of IPC and IEA which are inclusive of
the amendments made through sections 91 and 92 of ITA 2000 while the
amendments proposed to Bankers Book Evidence Act and RBI Act through
sections 93 and 94 remain in tact.
I invite legal experts to send in their views
on the above to firstname.lastname@example.org.
January 07, 2009
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