Adjudication was one of the ambitious propositions of Information Technology Act 2000 (ITA 2000) to promote quick and fair justice to Cyber Crime victims. It envisaged easy procedures free from Civil Procedure Code restraints, justice within 4 months from an authority which should have a good understanding of technology.
However since 2003 when the IT Secretaries of State were designated as Adjudicators for their respective states, few have shown the inclination to assume responsibility.
First person to act and deliver awards as an Adjudicator was Mr P W C Dawidar of Tamil Nadu. He had the distinction of giving out one of the first awards against Banks in the S Umashankar Vs ICICI Bank case and followed it up with other similar judgements in other cases. But he was silenced by being transferred out of the department after J Jayalalitha took over as the CM. Perhaps it was a routine transfer of the new Government but was a move which killed the Adjudication system in Tamil Nadu.
The next to emerge was Rajesh Aggarwal of Mumbai who took scores of decisions, created history by conducting an online arbitration and gave a huge fillip to the system.
Now a third Adjudicator has emerged Gujarat in the form of Mr Dhananjay Dwivedi who recently heard a Phishing complaint against Dena Bank and Idea and gave a judgement in favour of the customer who was the victim of Phishing.
While delivering the judgement, Mr Dwiwedi has made the following comment which is noteworthy.
“Of late, the society is seeing rise in the number of fraudulent transactions over on-line platform. The criminal intent and crime against property etc. is being taken through the criminal justice system. In all such cases, State being the prosecutor, the cases are taken through the criminal jurisprudence with police helping the criminal justice system.
However, there seems to be a lack of awareness for the civil remedy available to the citizens in terms of penalty as well as compensation under provisions of the , Information Technology Act.
To ensure that citizens become aware of the provisions of the law and also become more vigilant in guarding personal information that is sensitive in nature and become aware about security practices to safeguard one’s on-line space, there is a general need to increase awareness about the new legal framework introduced through the mechanism of Information Technology Act and Rules thereunder.
Accordingly, it is ordered that decision in this case be put in public domain and be widely publicized. “
I hope that he would keep the system alive in the coming days by accepting such complaints so that the spirit of ITA 2000 in ensuring speedy justice remains.