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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 naavi@vsnl.com.


January 07, 2009

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