The Registration (Karnataka Amendment Bill 2015) was passed by the Karnataka Legislative Assembly on 30th March 2015. On the same day, it was also passed by the Legislative Council. Since the matter involved partial amendment of Indian Registration Act 1908, it has been been sent to the Central Government for the assent of the President of India.
If there is no objections from any of the departments of the Central Government, the Bill will be automatically assented to by the President and would become an Act.
As has been pointed out in detail in our earlier post,the bill is in direct violation of Information Technology Act 2000 (ITA 2000). The ITA 2000 does not provide legal recognition to electronic documents which transfers title in an immovable property as well as a Power of Attorney document.
The Karnataka Bill is meant to introduce e-Governance in the registration department and provides for electronic documents to be presented online for registration. Since there is no recognition for such documents, the provision should be considered as unconstitutional.
It is regrettable that the e-Governance department of the Karnataka Government has not done proper consultation before pushing the Bill. The legislators obviously have no knowledge to check if the Bill is consistent with other laws of the country or not. If the President passes the bill in the normal course, the dubious distinction of passing an invalid legislation will fall on the honorable President of India.
The issue needs to be taken note of seriously by all the people concerned and accountability fixed for such an irresponsible action by the officials.
It may be recalled here that Karnataka already has the dubious distinction where by one previous IT Secretary in 2011 acting in his capacity as an Adjudicator that the term “Person” in Section 43 of ITA 2000 means only an individual and does not include a Body Corporate. To this we now have another dubious feather in the cap for the Government of the Silicon City of India. (Refer an earlier post : Will the CM of Karnataka respond?)
I urge the IT Ministry in Government of India to take necessary steps so that the e-Governance and IT Secretaries in all the States are adequately trained on Cyber Laws. Also they need to ensure that similar faulty laws are not passed by other States also in a bid to push use of technology in Governance.