Five years after the Cyber Appellate Tribunal (CyAT) became dysfunctional because the earlier Chair Person retired, it is now reported that the Government may merge CyAT with TDSAT (Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal).(View Report here)
According to the Government they are looking at rationalizing the tribunals and this move is keeping with that principle.
The move is at first glance to be welcomed from the point of view of reviving the dead CyAT. However, the TDSAT has so far been involved in high profile multi crore cases where as the CyAT normally handles small ticket cases in comparison. The difference in the culture of the two organizations needs to be taken note of before such a move is attempted.
Also, since CyAT is part of the ITA 2000, there will be a major amendment that would be required at ITA 2000 level and the merger cannot be a simple administrative note.
It appears that unable to find a Chair person and irked by the CAG report questioning the idle expenditure, Government has give an off the cuff answer without considring the pros and cons and more particularly how it may affect the interest of the cyber crime victims.
The TDSAT does not appear to be the forum which cyber crime victims will be comfortable with. From the Adjudicator to the TDSAT it would be a jump similar to going from a district court to supreme court. Victims would find the expense and procedures of TDSAT overwhelming.
I would urge the Government to drop the idea.
We may wait and see how the things develop.