Cyber Police Reforms In India Are Needed (2011)

Police reforms in India are long overdue. Whether it is on the front of legal framework, prison conditions, police accountability and transparency or any other similar aspect, police reforms in India have been stagnant.

Some of these reforms pertain to infrastructure while others pertain to policy formulation and still others regarding brand and image making of police in India. While these reforms can be managed through political will yet one reform area that cannot be achieved through mere political will pertains to training of police force in technology related issues.

For instance, we do not have enough cyber crime investigation capabilities in India till now. Cyber crime investigation in India is still far from satisfactory and there are selective police officials who are aware of technological issues and technological laws like information technology act 2000 (IT Act 2000).

At Perry4Law and Perry4Law Techno Legal Base (PTLB) we have been working in the direction of removing these obstacles for the law enforcement officials of India. PTLB has been managing a techno legal ICT training centre for police force that intends to fill this void and make our police force techno legal in nature.

Perry4Law and PTLB suggest that police force of India must be well versed in areas like cyber law, cyber security attacks, cyber forensics, digital evidencing and e-discovery, video conferencing evidence, e-courts, etc.

Presently, these issues are not considered by police force of India. To start with police force must be made aware of the cyber law of India and its applicable provisions. Further, police in India also needs to learn how to investigate a cyber crime. Simple issues of cyber forensics like internet protocol address tracking and data recovery must also be learned by police force of India.

Indian government in general and ministry of home affairs in particular must pay special attention to these issues as ambitious projects like national intelligence grid (Natgrid), crime and criminal tracking network and systems (CCTNS), etc cannot be run successfully through an untrained police and intelligence force.

Cyber skill and intelligence gathering skills need to be developed in India as soon as possible. Perry4Law and PTLB hope that our suggestions would be considered by Indian government for the larger interest of all concerned.

Source: IIPS.

Google App Vault And Legal Compliances And Regulatory Issues In India

Cyber forensics and e-discovery are two fields that are still not paid much attention by the government, legal fraternity and judiciary of India. Cyber forensics is different from e-discovery in its scope and application. We have no legal framework for either cyber forensics or e-discovery in India and the same needs to be formulated as soon as possible. The cyber forensics trends in India also show lack of interest towards this crucial field by various stakeholders in India.

There are some crucial fields like media forensics, corporate frauds investigation, valid sting operations, cyber crime investigation capabilities, etc where India needs to pay special attention. Similarly, use of online dispute resolution (ODR) in India and e-courts in India would also give rise to additional techno legal challenges for India in the near future. The growing popularity of cyber liability insurance in India is recognition of the cyber risks that various stakeholders would face in the future.

As per media reports, Google is planning to grant access to its Google App Vault without imposing extra charges to its Apps for Education users by the end of the year. Google App Vault allows the user to retain, archive, search, and export their official mails for e-discovery and compliance purposes. However, if Google plans to extend this facility to its Indian users, this would raise serious techno legal issues as well.

For instance, the proposed e-mail policy of India may block the private e-mail services like G-mail, Yahoo, etc for official communications in the near future. This is a good step as these e-mail service providers seldom comply with Indian laws and always take a shelter behind the conflict of laws in cyberspace. We at Perry4Law believe that there must be a techno legal framework to address all these issues in India.

The starting point is to force the foreign technology companies and e-commerce websites to establish servers in India. Indian government is already contemplating forcing the Internet telephony and VOIP service providers, social media websites, etc to establish servers in India. Similarly, taxation issues pertaining to online gaming websites, technology companies like Google, e-commerce websites, etc are also required to be sorted out. Legal implications of Public Records Act, 1993 cannot be ignored while dealing in an online environment by these companies.

So far Google’s App Vault is complying with the laws of United States and Indian laws are still not been considered by it. In these circumstances, it would be a big challenge for Indian government to force Google to comply with Indian laws. This would also raise serious law enforcement and national security issues for India as data, information and other documents would be stored outside India’s territory and jurisdiction.

While this step of Google is a blessing for online skills development in India yet regulatory compliance cannot be ignored by Google and Indian government the way it has been done so far. Perry4Law hopes that Indian government would consider these aspects very seriously in the larger interests of India.

Source: TLCOEEDI.

Validity Of Electronic Legal Notices And Processes In India Through E-Mails (2013)

At Perry4Law we receive numerous legal queries regarding legality of sending and receiving of a legal notice through electronic mail (E-Mail) or other electronic mediums. In order to spread public awareness in this regard, we are providing the legal position as applicable in India.

The Information Technology Act, 2000 recognises sending of electronic records for various purposes, including legal notices, if certain conditions are satisfied. Both Supreme Court of India and the Delhi High Court have already prescribed guidelines in this regard.

A Three Judge Bench of Supreme Court of India in Central Electricity Regulatory Commission v. National Hydroelectric Power Corporation Ltd, Civil Appeal No. (D.21216/2010), (2010) 10 SCC 280 observed that in various Courts, the statistical data indicates that, on account of delay in process serving, arrears keep on mounting. In Delhi itself, the input indicates that fifty per cent of the arrears in Courts particularly in commercial cases is on account of delay in process serving.

For the above reasons, the following directions, as mentioned hereinbelow, are given:

(i) In addition to normal mode of service, service of Notice(s) may be effected by E-Mail for which the advocate(s) on-record will, at the time of filing of petition/appeal, furnish to the filing counter a soft copy of the entire petition/appeal in PDF format;

(ii) The advocate(s) on-record shall also simultaneously submit E-Mail addresses of the respondent(s) Companies/Corporation(s) to the filing counter of the Registry. This will be in addition to the hard copy of the petition/appeal;

(iii) If the Court issues notice, then, in that event alone, the Registry will send such an additional notice at the E-Mail addresses of the respondent(s) Companies/Corporation(s) via E-Mail;

(iv) The Registry will also send Notice at the E-Mail address of the advocate(s) for respondent(s) Companies/Corporation(s), who have filed caveat. Advocate(s) on-record filing caveat shall provide his/her E-Mail address for effecting service; and

(v) Within two weeks from today, Cabinet Secretariat shall also provide centralized E-Mail addresses of various Ministries/Departments/ Regulatory Authorities along with the names of the Nodal Officers, if already appointed, for the purposes of service.

The above facility is being extended in addition to the modes of service mentioned in the existing Supreme Court Rules. This facility, for the time being, is extended to commercial litigation and to those cases where the advocate(s) on-record seeks urgent interim reliefs.

The Delhi High Court, in exercise of powers under Part X of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 (5 of 1908) and Order V, Rule 9 of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 and all other powers enabling it in this behalf, has also made Rules regarding service of legal notices through E-Mail. These rules allow service of legal notices and processes through E-Mails if the conditions prescribed therein are duly complied with.

Similarly, A Division Bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justice Sanjiv Khanna has ensured early release of undertrials and accused who are granted bail by directing all Delhi courts as well as its own officials to e-mail a copy of bail orders to Tihar jail authorities within 24 hours of being pronounced.

The Supreme Court of India and the Delhi High Court are also working in the direction of establishment of E-Courts in India as soon as possible. Presently, computerisation work has been finished to a greater extent and we may witness the e-filing facility as well in the near future. Once linked to the National Judicial Data Grid (NJDG), a proper e-court infrastructure can be established in India.

So those who believe that legal notices or legal processes cannot be sent through e-mail must think again as the necessary legal and judicial framework in this regard already exists in India.

Source: IIPS.

Cyber Crime Investigation Capabilities in India (2011)

India has a single law on cyber crimes. The cyber law of India is named as information technology act, 2000 (IT Act, 2000) and it is the sole cyber law of India. IT Act 2000 is also the sole law that deals with cyber crimes.

Cyber crimes in India have increased unchecked and dramatically partly due to the weak cyber law of India and partly due to poor cyber law knowledge among the police officers. This results in many cyber crimes remaining undetected and unsolved. Further, lawyers and judges are also not aware of cyber law of India and its fine details. This is the chief reason that in India we have very few cyber crime convictions.

Even on the front of cyber security India is not well situated. India is facing serious Cyber Threats and it needs good Techno Legal Skill Development Initiatives to have skilled manpower to meet such challenges, suggests Praveen Dalal, managing partner of New Delhi based law firm Perry4Law and CEO of Perry4Law Techno Legal Base (PTLB).

It seems India has also realised that in the absence of adequate skills it cannot meet the challenges to its internal security. This is the reason why public private partnership (PPP) has been proposed for even internal security matters of India. World renowned techno legal institutions like PTLB can greatly help Indian government in maters like cyber law, cyber security, telecom issues, cyber forensics, digital evidencing, e-courts, e-discovery, cyber crimes investigations, etc.

In fact, the first techno legal cyber crime investigation manual of India would be released shortly by PTLB. PTLB is also providing exclusive courses on techno legal cyber law skill development in India. There are other techno legal skill development courses as well that are provided by PTLB.

The cyber crime investigation capabilities of India need to be enhanced. Police officers, lawyers and judges must be given suitable techno legal training so that cyber criminals can be nabbed and punished. Even the cyber law of India need to be repealed and a new and strong cyber law must be enacted. The sooner this is done the better it would be for the larger interest of India.

Source: Cjnews India

E-Courts In India Still A Distant Dream (2012)

NEW DELHI, INDIA: The Indian judicial system yearns for reform. As ICT promises virtual courts for speedy delivery of justice, ironically, the pace of law ministry’s pet project is considerably too slow.

Blame it on government’s apathy or lackluster judicial system, the electronic delivery of justice has perhaps lost sheen. Nine years passed by from the first announcement, but it’s yet to translate into ground reality.

As there are as many as 30 million cases pending in different courts throughout India, it may require more than 400 years to dispose them going by the current judicial strength. That makes the ICT-driven justice imperative.

The law ministry may laud digitalization process and cause lists availability on Web servers of more than 20 high courts, but the full-fledged program has a long way to go. In Delhi, only two courts have been digitalized which are yet to get e-court status.

Justice Altamas Kabir of top court believes that they have a vision, but e-courts in India are yet to become a reality. With e-filing as one of its constituents, he feels, there will be no need for litigants to be physically present.

To be powered with ICT-driven infrastructure, the e-courts envisage demystification of the adjudicatory processes. The e-trials, however, would not just include e-filing but electronic delivery of comprehensive set of judicial activities.

A noted techno-legal expert, senior Supreme Court counsellor and managing partner at Perry4Law firm Praveen Dalal opines that it’s imperative to establish e-courts in India soon. “The first indication of e-courts in India was given in 2003,” he said.

Till now, Dalal said, not even a single e-court has been established in any state. “Lack of techno-legal expertise is the main reason for the current scenario,” he said. Further, Dalal believes that governmental and judicial resolve to establish e-courts in India is also missing.

Source: CIOL.

E-Court Launched In Orissa (2011)

To computerize the justice delivery system, the Central Government is implementing e-Courts for the District and Subordinate Courts with upgradation of IT at a cost of Rs 935 crore.

By CXOtoday Staff

Under the e-Courts programme of National e-Governance Programme (NeGP), Cuttack District court in Orissa has become the first ICT enabled district court. Chief Justice of the Orissa High Court V. Gopalagodwa inaugurated the computerized judicial service centre.

The e-Courts scheme aims at enabling the lower courts with information and communication technology facility in their functioning for faster dispensation of justice. Key functions like case filing, allocation, registration, case work flow, orders and judgments would be IT enabled. Criminal courts and corresponding jails would have video conferencing facility for the trial.

Early this week, Law Minister, Salman Khurshid informed the Rajya Sabha that 57,179 cases were pending in the Supreme Court of India as on 30 June this year and 42,17,903 cases were pending in the High Courts as on 30 September last year.

The minister said that in order to facilitate speedy disposal of cases in courts, the government has approved setting up of ‘National Mission for Justice Delivery and Legal Reforms.’ The focus of this body would be to increase access by reducing delays and arrears in the system, enhance accountability through structural changes and by setting performance standards and capacities.

In order to computerize the justice delivery system government is implementing e-Courts Project for the District and Subordinate Courts in the country and upgradation of ICT infrastructure in superior courts at an estimated cost of Rs 935 crore.

The target is to computerize 12,000 courts by 31 March, 2012 and 14,249 courts by 31 March, 2014. Court and case management can be done through National Arrears Grid created under the project.

According to Praveen Dalal, Managing Partner at New Delhi-based techno legal ICT law firm Perry4Law, e-Courts in India are still in the first stage of computerization in some of the aspects of the courts. “Full fledged e-filing, submission of plaints and documents online, online evidence producing, etc. are still missing,” he said

Source: CXO Today.

E Courts 4 Justice (EC4J) Project By PTLB

Access to justice is essential for success of rule of law and timely and cost effective legal and judicial services. Keeping this in mind we at Perry4Law Techno Legal Base (PTLB) started the e-courts and online dispute resolution projects in the year 2004. It took us almost a decade to understand the fine details of both e-courts and ODR. Nevertheless, PTLB kept on working in these two crucial directions and other techno legal fields like cyber law, cyber security, cyber forensics, etc.

In 2014 we dedicated our resources and efforts to one of the sub projects under the e-courts category named ECourts4Justice (EC4J). Since then we are continuously developing the same so that it can benefit national and international stakeholders. After much ups and downs, this ECourts4Justice (EC4J) project has finally reached a functional stage.

ECourts4Justice (EC4J) is a result of a decade old expertise and hard working. We applied the concept of e-courts to an Interoperable Criminal Justice System (ICJS) and combined our techno legal expertise in fields like cyber law, cyber crimes investigation, cyber forensics, cyber security, etc. The net result is ECourts4Justice (EC4J) project that we are taking to the next level with this blog and other blogs and websites of PTLB.

We at PTLB believe that access to justice and justice for all is possible by productive use of information and communication technology (ICT). That is why we launched two ODR platforms for national and international stakeholders.

The first one is a Professional ODR Network where individuals, companies, governments, multi national companies, etc can  use our paid ODR services through the online portal. All the parties to the dispute need to do is to incorporate the ODR clause in their agreements while signing the same. Even if there is no such ODR clause in an agreement, there is a provision to use the same directly on the ODR portal if both the parties agree to the same.

The second online portal is part and parcel of our ODR Training Project where we have provided an online platform to national and international stakeholders to resolve their disputes free of cost. This pro bono services is provided under our Corporate Social Responsibility to ensure access to justice, justice for all and resilience for all.  All an individual or company has to do is to fill a ticket and we would do the rest.

To assist stakeholders in effective use of our ODR and E-Courts portals, we have been managing few dedicated Twitter handles. These are @ECourts4Justice, @RWLIndia, @ODRIndia, @TLCEODRI, etc.

We hope all stakeholders would be benefited by the ECourts4Justice (EC4J) and other projects of PTLB.