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The Information Technology Act 2000
An Act to provide legal recognition for transactions carried out by means of electronic data interchange and other means of electronic communication, commonly referred to as "electronic commerce", which involve the use of alternatives to paper-based methods of communication and storage of information, to facilitate electronic filing of documents with the Government agencies and further to amend the Indian Penal Code, the Indian Evidence Act, 1872, the Bankers' Books Evidence Act, 1891 and the Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934 and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.whereas the General Assembly of the United Nations by resolution A/RES/51/162, dated the 30th January, 1997 has adopted the Model Law on Electronic Commerce adopted by the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law and whereas the said resolution recommends inter alia that all States give favourable consideration to the said Model Law when they enact or revise their laws, in view of the need for uniformity of the law applicable to alternatives to paper-cased methods of communication and storage of information and whereas it is considered necessary to give effect to the said resolution and to promote efficient delivery of Government services by means of reliable electronic records.

Purpose of  Act
  • To establish a regime for the responsible collection and handling of  personal information in the Victorian public sector;
  • To provide individuals with rights of access to information about them held by organizations, including information held by contracted   service providers;
  • To provide individuals with the right to require an organization to correct information about them held by the organization including      information held by contracted service providers;
  • To provide remedies for interferences with the information privacy of an individual;
  • To provide for the appointment of a Privacy Commissioner.
Nature of Rights Created by this Act
  • Gives rise to any civil cause of action
  • Without limiting paragraph (a), operates to create in any person any legal right enforceable in a court or tribunal - otherwise than in accordance with the procedures set out in this Act.
  • A contravention of this Act does not create any criminal liability except to the extent expressly provided by this Act.
Authentication of Electronic Records
  • Subject to the provisions of this section any subscriber may authenticate an electronic record by affixing his digital signature.
  • The authentication of the electronic record shall be effected by the use of asymmetric crypto system and hash function which envelop and transform the initial electronic record into another electronic record.
Explanation: For the purposes of this sub-section, "hash function" means an algorithm mapping or translation of one sequence of bits into another, generally smaller, set known as "hash result" such that an electronic record yields the same hash result every time the algorithm is executed with the same electronic record as its input making it computationally infeasible:
  • To derive or reconstruct the original electronic record from the hash result produced by the algorithm.
  • That two electronic records can produce the same hash result using the algorithm.
  • Any person by the use of a public key of the subscriber can verify the electronic record.
  • The private key and the public key are unique to the subscriber and constitute a functioning key pair.
Electronics Governance
Legal Recognition of Electronic Records
Where any law provides that information or any other matter shall be in writing or in the typewritten or printed form, then, notwithstanding anything contained in such law, such requirement shall be deemed to have been satisfied if such information or matter is
  • Rendered or made available in an electronic form.
  • Accessible so as to be usable for a subsequent reference.
Legal Recognition of Digital Signatures.
Where any law provides that information or any other matter shall be authenticated by affixing the signature or any document shall be signed or bear the signature of any person (hen, notwithstanding anything contained in such law, such requirement shall be deemed to have been satisfied, if such information or matter is authenticated by means of digital signature affixed in such manner as may be prescribed by the Central Government.

Explanation.- For the purposes of this section, "signed", with its grammatical variations and cognate expressions, shall, with reference to a person, mean affixing of his hand written signature or any mark on any document and the expression "signature" shall be construed accordingly.

Use of Electronic Records and Digital Signatures in Government and its Agencies
Where any law provides for
  • The filing of any form. application or any other document with any office, authority, body or agency owned or controlled by the appropriate Government in a particular manner;
  • The issue or grant of any  license, permit, sanction or approval by whatever name called in a particular manner;
  • The receipt or payment of money in a particular manner,
then, notwithstanding anything contained in any other law for the time being in force, such requirement shall be deemed to have been satisfied if such filing, issue, grant, receipt or payment, as the case may be, is effected by means of such electronic form as may be prescribed by the appropriate Government.

The appropriate Government may, for the purposes of sub-section (1), by rules, prescribe
  • The manner and format in which such electronic records shall be filed, created or issued;
  • The manner or method of payment of any fee or charges for filing, creation or issue any electronic record under clause
Retention of Electronic Records
Where any law provides that documents, records or information shall be retained for any specific period, then, that requirement shall be deemed to have been satisfied if such documents, records or information are retained in the electronic form, if:
  • The information contained therein remains accessible so as to be usable for a subsequent reference;
  • The electronic record is retained in the format in which it was originally generated, sent or received or in a format which can be demonstrated to represent accurately the information originally generated, sent or received;
  • The details which will facilitate the identification of the origin, destination, date and time of dispatch or receipt of such electronic record are available in the electronic record:
Provided that this clause does not apply to any information which is automatically generated solely for the purpose of enabling an electronic record to be dispatched or received.

Nothing in this section shall apply to any law that expressly provides for the retention of documents, records or information in the form of electronic records.

Publication of Rule, Regulation, etc., in Electronic Gazette.
Where any law provides that any rule, regulation, order, bye-law, notification or any other matter shall be published in the Official Gazette, then, such requirement shall be deemed to have been satisfied if such rule, regulation, order, bye-law, notification or any other matter is published in the Official Gazette or Electronic Gazette:

Provided that where any rule, regulation, order, bye-law, notification or any other matter is published in the Official Gazette or Electronic Gazette, the date of publication shall be deemed to be the date of the Gazette which was first published in any form.

Sections 6,7 and 8 not to confer right to insist document should be accepted in Electronic Form
Nothing contained in sections 6, 7 and 8 shall confer a right upon any person to insist that any Ministry or Department of the Central Government or the State Government or any authority or body established by or under any law or controlled or funded by the Central or State Government should accept, issue, create, retain and preserve any document in the form of electronic records or effect any monetary transaction in the electronic form.

Power to make Rules by Central Government in respect of Digital Signature
The Central Government may, for the purposes of this Act, by rules, prescribe:
  • The type of digital signature;
  • The manner and format in which the digital signature shall be affixed;
  • The manner or procedure which facilitates identification of the person affixing the digital signature;
  • Control processes and procedures to ensure adequate integrity, security and confidentiality of electronic records or payments; and
  • Any other matter which is necessary to give legal effect to digital signatures.
Attribution, Acknowledgment and Dispatch of Electronic Records
Attribution of Electronic Records
An electronic record shall be attributed to the originator:
  • If it was sent by the originator himself;
  • By a person who had the authority to act on behalf of the originator in respect of that electronic record;
  • By an information system programmed by or on behalf of the originator to operate automatically.
Acknowledgment of Receipt.
Where the originator has not agreed with the addressee that the acknowledgment of receipt of electronic record be given in a particular form or by a particular method, an acknowledgment may be given by:
  • Any communication by the addressee, automated or otherwise; or
  • Any conduct of the addressee, sufficient to indicate to the originator that the electronic record has been received.
Where the originator has stipulated that the electronic record shall be binding only on receipt of an acknowledgment of such electronic record by him, then unless acknowledgment has been so received, the electronic record shall be deemed to have been never sent by the originator.

Where the originator has not stipulated that the electronic record shall be binding only on receipt of such acknowledgment, and the acknowledgment has not been received by the originator within the time specified or agreed or, if no time has been specified or agreed to within a reasonable time, then the originator may give notice to the addressee stating that no acknowledgment has been received by him and specifying a reasonable time by which the acknowledgment must be received by him and if no acknowledgment is received within the aforesaid time limit he may after giving notice to the addressee, treat the electronic record as though it has never been sent.

Time and Place of Dispatch and Receipt of Electronic Record.
  • Save as otherwise agreed to between the originator and the addressee, the dispatch of an electronic record occurs when it enters a computer resource outside the control of the originator.
  • Save as otherwise agreed between the originator and the addressee, the time of receipt of an electronic record shall be determined as follows, namely:
If the addressee has designated a computer resource for the purpose of receiving electronic records:
  • Receipt occurs at the time when the electronic, record enters the designated computer resource; or
  • If the electronic record is sent to a computer resource of the addressee that is not the designated computer resource, receipt occurs at the time when the electronic record is retrieved by the addressee.
If the addressee has not designated a computer resource along with specified timings, if any, receipt occurs when the electronic record enters the computer resource of the addressee.

Save as otherwise agreed to between the originator and the addressee, an electronic record is deemed to be dispatched at the place where the originator has his place of business, and is deemed to be received at the place where the addressee has his place of business.

The provisions of sub-section (2) shall apply notwithstanding that the place where the computer resource is located may be different from the place where the electronic record is deemed to have been received under sub-section (3).

For the purposes of this section:

  • If the originator or the addressee has more than one place of business, the principal place of business, shall be the place of business;
  • If the originator or the addressee does not have a place of business, his usual place of residence shall be deemed to be the place of business;
  • "Usual place of residence", in relation to a body corporate, means the place where it is registered.
Secure Electronic Records and Secure Digital Signature
Secure Electronic Record.
Where any security procedure has been applied to an electronic record at a specific point of time. then such record shall be deemed to be a secure electronic record from such point of time to the time of verification.

Secure Digital Signature

If, by application of a security procedure agreed to by the parties concerned, it can be verified that a digital signature, at the time it was affixed, was:
  • Unique to the subscriber affixing it;
  • Capable of identifying such subscriber;
  • Created in a manner or using a means under the exclusive control of the subscriber and is linked to the electronic record to which it relates in such a manner that if the electronic record was altered the digital signature would be invalidated,
then such digital signature shall be deemed to be a secure digital signature.

Security Procedure
The Central Government shall for the purposes of this Act prescribe the security procedure having regard to commercial circumstances prevailing at the time when the procedure was used, including:
  • The nature of the transaction,
  • The level of sophistication of the parties with reference to their technological capacity;
  • The volume of similar transactions engaged in by other parties;
  • The availability of alternatives offered to but rejected by any party;
  • The cost of alternative procedures; and
  • The procedures in general use for similar types of transactions or communications.
Regulation of Certifying Authorities
Appointment of Controller and other Officers.
  • The Central Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, appoint a Controller of Certifying Authorities for the purposes of this Act and may also by the same or subsequent notification appoint such number of Deputy Controllers and Assistant Controllers as it deems fit.
  • The Controller shall discharge his functions under this Act subject to the general control and directions of the Central Government.
  • The Deputy Controllers and Assistant Controllers shall perform the functions assigned to them by the Controller under the general superintendence and control of the Controller.
  • The qualifications, experience and terms and conditions of service of Controller, Deputy Controllers and Assistant Controllers shall be such as may be prescribed by the Central Government.
  • The Head Office and Branch Office of the office of the Controller shall be at such places as the Central Government may specify, and these may be established at such places as the Central Government may think fit.
  • There shall be a seal of the Office of the Controller.
Functions of Controller
The Controller may perform all or any of the following functions, namely:-
  • Exercising supervision over the activities of the Certifying Authorities;
  • Certifying public keys of the Certifying Authorities;
  • Laying down the standards to be maintained by the Certifying Authorities;
  • Specifying the qualifications and experience which employees of the Certifying Authorities should possess;
  • Specifying the conditions subject to which the Certifying Authorities shall conduct their business;
  • Specifying the contents of written, printed or visual materials and advertisements that may be distributed or used in respect of a Digital Signature Certificate and the public key;
  • Specifying the form and content of a Digital Signature Certificate and the key,
  • Specifying the form and manner in which accounts shall be maintained by the Certifying Authorities;
  • Specifying the terms and conditions subject to which auditors may be appointed and the remuneration to be paid to them;
  • Facilitating the establishment of any electronic system by a Certifying Authority either solely or jointly with other Certifying Authorities and regulation of such systems;
  • Specifying the manner in which the Certifying Authorities shall conduct their dealings with the subscribers;
  • Resolving any conflict of interests between the Certifying Authorities and the subscribers;
  • Laying down the duties of the Certifying Authorities;
  • Maintaining a data base containing the disclosure record of every Certifying Authority containing such particulars as may be specified by regulations, which shall be accessible to public.
Recognition of Foreign Certifying Authorities.
  • Subject to such conditions and restrictions as may be specified by regulations, the Controller may with the previous approval of the Central Government, and by notification in the Official Gazette, recognize any foreign Certifying Authority as a Certifying Authority for the purposes of this Act.
  • Where any Certifying Authority is recognized under sub-section (1), the Digital Signature Certificate issued by such Certifying Authority shall be valid for the purposes of this Act.
  • The Controller may, if he is satisfied that any Certifying Authority has contravened any of the conditions and restrictions subject to which it was granted recognition under sub-section (1) he may, for reasons to be recorded in writing, by notification in the Official Gazette, revoke such recognition.
Controller to Act as Repository.
The Controller shall be the repository of all Digital Signature Certificates issued under this Act.
The Controller shall:
  • Make use of hardware, software and procedures that are secure from intrusion and misuse;
  • Observe such other standards as may be prescribed by the Central Government, to ensure that the secrecy and security of the digital signatures are assured.
The Controller shall maintain a computerized data base of all public keys in such a manner that such data base and the public keys are available to any member of the public.

License to issue Digital Signature Certificates.
Subject to the provisions of sub-section (2), any person may make an application, to the Controller, for a license to issue Digital Signature Certificates.

No license shall be issued under sub-section (1), unless the applicant fulfills such requirements with respect to qualification, expertise, manpower, financial resources and other infrastructure facilities, which are necessary to issue Digital Signature Certificates as may be prescribed by the Central Government

A license granted under this section shall:
  • Be valid for such period as may be prescribed by the Central Government;
  • Not be transferable or heritable;
  • Be subject to such terms and conditions as may be specified by the regulations.
Application for License
Every application for issue of a license shall be in such form as may be prescribed by the Central Government.
Every application for issue of a license shall be accompanied by:
  • A certification practice statement;
  • A statement including the procedures with respect to identification of the applicant;
  • Payment of such fees, not exceeding twenty-five thousand rupees as may be prescribed by the Central Government;
  • Such other documents, as may be prescribed by the Central Government.
Renewal of  License
An application for renewal of a license shall be-
  • In such form;
  • Accompanied by such fees, not exceeding five thousand rupees,
as may be prescribed by the Central Government and shall be made not less than forty-five days before the date of expiry of the period of validity of the license.

Procedure for Grant or Rejection of
License
The Controller may, on receipt of an application under sub-section (1) of section 21, after considering the documents accompanying the application and such other factors, as he deems fit, grant the license or reject the application:

Provided that no application shall be rejected under this section unless the applicant has been given a reasonable opportunity of presenting his case.

Suspension of License.

The Controller may, if he is satisfied after making such inquiry, as he may think fit, that a Certifying Authority has,:
  • Made a statement in, or in relation to, the application for the issue or renewal of the licence, which is incorrect or false in material particulars;
  • Failed to comply with the terms and conditions subject to which the licence was granted;
  • Failed to maintain the standards specified under clause (b) of sub-section (2) of section 20;
  • Contravened any provisions of this Act, rule, regulation or order made thereunder, revoke the licence:
Provided that no license shall be revoked unless the Certifying Authority has been given a reasonable opportunity of showing cause against the proposed revocation.

The Controller may, if he has reasonable cause to believe that there is any ground for revoking a licence under sub-section (1), by order suspend such license pending the completion of any inquiry ordered by him:

Provided that no license shall be suspended for a period exceeding ten days unless the Certifying Authority has been given a reasonable opportunity of showing cause against the proposed suspension.

No Certifying Authority whose license has been suspended shall issue any Digital Signature Certificate during such suspension.

Notice of Suspension or Revocation of
License
Where the license of the Certifying Authority is suspended or revoked, the Controller shall publish notice of such suspension or revocation, as the case may be, in the database maintained by him.

Where one or more repositories are specified, the Controller shall publish notices of such suspension or revocation, as the case may be, in all such repositories:

Provided that the data base containing the notice of such suspension or revocation, as the case may be, shall be made available through a web site which shall be accessible round the clock:

Provided further that the Controller may, if he considers necessary, publish the contents of database in such electronic or other media, as he may consider appropriate.

Power to Delegate

The Controller may, in writing, authorize the Deputy Controller, Assistant Controller or any officer to exercise any of the powers of the Controller under this Chapter.

Power to Investigate Contraventions

The Controller or any officer authorized by him in this behalf shall take up for investigation any contravention of the provisions of this Act, rules or regulations made thereunder.

The Controller or any officer authorized by him in this behalf shall exercise the like powers which are conferred on Income-tax authorities under Chapter XIII of the Income-tax Act, 1961 and shall exercise such powers, subject to such limitations laid down under that Act.

Access to Computers and Data

Without prejudice to the provisions of sub-section (1) of section 69, the Controller or any person authorised by him shall, if he has reasonable cause to suspect that any contravention of the provisions of this Act, rules or regulations made thereunder has been committed, have access to any computer system, any apparatus, data or any other material connected with such system, for the purpose of searching or causing a search to be made for obtaining any information or data contained in or available to such computer system.

For the purposes of sub-section (1), the Controller or any person authorised by him may, by order, direct any person incharge of, or otherwise concerned with the operation of, the computer system, data apparatus or material, to provide him with such reasonable technical and other assistance as he may consider necessary.

Certifying Authority to follow Certain Procedures.

Every Certifying Authority shall:
  • Make use of hardware, software and procedures that are secure from intrusion and misuse;
  • Provide a reasonable level of reliability in its services which are reasonably suited to the performance of intended functions;
  • Adhere to security procedures to ensure that the secrecy and privacy of the digital signatures are assured; and
  • Observe such other standards as may be specified by regulations.
Certifying Authority to Ensure Compliance of the Act, etc.
Every Certifying Authority shall ensure that every person employed or otherwise engaged by it complies, in the course of his employment or engagement, with the provisions of this Act, rules, regulations and orders made thereunder.

Display of License
Every Certifying Authority shall display its license at a conspicuous place of the premises in which it carries on its business.

Surrender of License.
  • Every Certifying Authority whose license is suspended or revoked shall immediately after such suspension or revocation, surrender the license to the Controller.
  • Where any Certifying Authority fails to surrender a license under sub-section (1), the person in whose favour a license is issued, shall be guilty of an offence and shall be punished with imprisonment which may extend up to six months or a fine which may extend up to ten thousand rupees or with both.
Disclosure
Every Certifying Authority shall disclose in the manner specified by regulations:
  • Its Digital Signature Certificate which contains the public key corresponding to the private key used by that Certifying Authority to digitally sign another Digital Signature Certificate;
  • Any certification practice statement relevant thereto;
  • Notice of the revocation or suspension of its Certifying Authority certificate, if any; and
  • Any other fact that materially and adversely affects either the reliability of a Digital Signature Certificate, which that Authority has issued, or the Authority's ability to perform its services.
Where in the opinion of the Certifying Authority any event has occurred or any situation has arisen which may materially and adversely affect the integrity of its computer system or the conditions subject to which a Digital Signature Certificate was granted, then, the Certifying Authority shall:
  • Use reasonable efforts to notify any person who is likely to be affected by that occurrence; or
  • Act n accordance with the procedure specified in its certification practice statement to deal with such event or situation.
Digital Signature Certificates
Certifying Authority to issue Digital Signature Certificate.
  • Any person may make an application to the Certifying Authority for the issue of a Digital Signature Certificate in such form as may be prescribed by the Central Government
  • Every such application shall be accompanied by such fee not exceeding twenty-five thousand rupees as may be prescribed by the Central Government, to be paid to the Certifying Authority:
  • Provided that while prescribing fees under sub-section (2) different fees may be prescribed for different classes of applicants'.
  • Every such application shall be accompanied by a certification practice statement or where there is no such statement, a statement containing such particulars, as may be specified by regulations.
  • On receipt of an application under sub-section
The Certifying Authority may, after consideration of the certification practice statement or the other statement under sub-section
After making such enquiries as it may deem fit, grant the Digital Signature Certificate or for reasons to be recorded in writing, reject the application:

Provided that no Digital Signature Certificate shall be granted unless the Certifying Authority is satisfied that:
  • The applicant holds the private key corresponding to the public key to be listed in the Digital Signature Certificate;
  • The applicant holds a private key, which is capable of creating a digital signature;
  • The public key to be listed in the certificate can be used to verify a digital signature affixed by the private key held by the applicant:
Provided further that no application shall be rejected unless the applicant has been given a reasonable opportunity of showing cause against the proposed rejection.

Representations upon Issuance of Digital Signature Certificate.
A Certifying Authority while issuing a Digital Signature Certificate shall certify that:
  • It has complied with the provisions of this Act and the rules and regulations made thereunder,
  • It has published the Digital Signature Certificate or otherwise made it available to such person relying on it and the subscriber has accepted it;
  • The subscriber holds the private key corresponding to the public key, listed in the Digital Signature Certificate;
  • The subscriber's public key and private key constitute a functioning key pair,
  • The information contained in the Digital Signature Certificate is accurate; and
  • It has no knowledge of any material fact, which if it had been included in the Digital Signature Certificate would adversely affect the reliability of the representations made in clauses (a) to (d).
Suspension of Digital Signature Certificate.
Subject to the provisions of sub-section (1) the Certifying Authority which has issued a Digital Signature Certificate may suspend such Digital Signature Certificate:

On receipt of a request to that effect from -
  • The subscriber listed in toe Digital Signature Certificate; or
  • Any person duly authorized to act on behalf of that subscriber,
If it is of opinion that the Digital Signature Certificate should be suspended in public interest

A Digital Signature Certificate shall not be suspended for a period exceeding fifteen days unless the subscriber has been given an opportunity of being heard in the matter.

On suspension of a Digital Signature Certificate under this section, the Certifying Authority shall communicate the same to the subscriber.

Revocation of Digital Signature Certificate.

A Certifying Authority may revoke a Digital Signature Certificate issued by it:
  • Where the subscriber or any other person authorized by him makes a request to that effect; or
  • Upon the death of the subscriber, or
  • Upon the dissolution of the firm or winding up of the company where the subscriber is a firm or a company.
Subject to the provisions of sub-section (3) and without prejudice to the provisions of sub-section (1), a Certifying Authority may revoke a Digital Signature Certificate which has been issued by it at any time, if it is of opinion that:
  • A material fact represented in the Digital Signature Certificate is false or has been concealed;
  • A  requirement for issuance of the Digital Signature Certificate was not satisfied;
  • The Certifying Authority's private key or security system was compromised in a manner materially affecting the Digital Signature Certificate's reliability;
  • The subscriber has been declared insolvent or dead or where a subscriber is a firm or a company, which has been dissolved, wound-up or otherwise ceased to exist.
A Digital Signature Certificate shall not be revoked unless the subscriber has been given an opportunity of being heard in the matter.
On revocation of a Digital Signature Certificate under this section, the Certifying Authority shall communicate the same to the subscriber.

Notice of Suspension or Revocation.
Where a Digital Signature Certificate is suspended or revoked under section 37 or section 38, the Certifying Authority shall publish a notice of such suspension or revocation, as the case may be, in the repository specified in the Digital Signature Certificate for publication of such notice.

Where one or more repositories are specified, the Certifying Authority shall publish notices of such suspension or revocation, as the case may he. in all such repositories.

Duties of Subscribers

Generating Key Pair.

Where any Digital Signature Certificate, the public key of which corresponds to the private key of that subscriber which is to be listed in the Digital Signature Certificate has been accepted by a subscriber, then, the subscriber shall generate the key pair by applying the security procedure.

Acceptance of Digital Signature Certificate.
A subscriber shall be deemed to have accepted a Digital Signature Certificate if he publishes or authorises the publication of a Digital Signature Certificate:
  • To one or more persons;
  • In a repository, or otherwise demonstrates his approval of the Digital Signature Certificate in any manner.
By accepting a Digital Signature Certificate the subscriber certifies to all who reasonably rely on the information contained in the Digital Signature Certificate that:
  • The subscriber holds the private key corresponding to the public key listed in the Digital Signature Certificate and is entitled to hold the same;
  • All representations made by the subscriber to the Certifying Authority and all material relevant to the information contained in the Digital Signature Certificate are true;
  • (All information in the Digital Signature Certificate that is within the knowledge of the subscriber is true.
Control of Private Key
  • Every subscriber shall exercise reasonable care to retain control of the private key corresponding to the public key listed in his Digital Signature Certificate and take all steps to prevent its disclosure to a person not authorised to affix the digital signature of the subscriber.
  • If the private key corresponding to the public key listed in the Digital Signature Certificate has been compromised, then, the subscriber shall communicate the same without any delay to the Certifying Authority in such manner as may be specified by .the regulations.
Explanation.- For the removal of doubts, it is hereby declared that the subscriber shall be liable till he has informed the Certifying Authority that the private key has been compromised.

Penalties and Adjudication

Penalty for Damage to Computer, Computer System, etc.
If any person without permission of the owner or any other person who is in charge of a computer, computer system or computer network,-
  • Accesses or secures access to such computer, computer system or computer network;
  • Downloads, copies or extracts any data, computer data base or information from such computer, computer system or computer network including information or data held or stored in any removable storage medium;
  • Introduces or causes to be introduced any computer contaminant or computer virus into any computer, computer system or computer network;
  • Damages or causes to be damaged any computer, computer system or computer network, data, computer data base or any other programmes residing in such computer, computer system or computer network;
  • Disrupts or causes disruption of any computer, computer system or computer network;
  • Denies or causes the denial of access to any person authorized to access any computer, computer system or computer network by any means;
  • Provides any assistance to any person to facilitate access to a computer, computer system or computer network in contravention of the provisions of this Act, rules or regulations made thereunder;
  • Charges the services availed of by a person to the account of another person by tampering with or manipulating any computer, computer system, or computer network,
He shall be liable to pay damages by way of compensation not exceeding one crore rupees to the person so affected.
Explanation.- For the purposes of this section:
  • "Computer contaminant" means any set of computer instructions that are designed-
  • To modify, destroy, record, transmit data or programme residing within a computer, computer system or computer network; or
  • By any means to usurp the normal operation of the computer, computer system, or computer network;
  • "Computer data base" means a representation of information, knowledge, facts, concepts or instructions in text, image, audio, video that are being prepared or have been prepared in a formalized manner or have been produced by a computer, computer system or computer network and are intended for use in a computer, computer system or computer network;
  • "Computer virus" means any computer instruction, information, data or programme that destroys, damages, degrades or adversely affects the performance of a computer resource or attaches itself to another computer resource and operates when a programme, daia or instruction is executed or some other event takes place in that computer resource;
  • "Damage" means to destroy, alter, delete, add, modify or rearrange any computer resource by any means.
Penalty for Failure to Furnish Information Return, etc.
If any person who is required under this Act or any rules or regulations made thereunder to:
  • Furnish any document, return or report to the Controller or ?he Certifying Authority fails to furnish the same, he shall be liable to a penalty not exceeding one lakh and fifty thousand rupees for each such failure;
  • File any return or furnish any information, books or other documents within the time specified therefor in the regulations fails to file return or furnish the same within the time specified therefor in the regulations, he shall be liable to a penalty not exceeding five thousand rupees for every day during which such failure continues;
  • Maintain books of account or records, fails to maintain the same, he shall be liable to a penalty not exceeding ten thousand rupees for every day during which the failure continues.
Residuary Penalty
Whoever contravenes any rules or regulations made under this Act, for .the contravention of which no penalty has been separately provided, shall be liable to pay a compensation not exceeding twenty-five thousand rupees to the person affected by such contravention or a penalty not exceeding twenty-five thousand rupees.

Power to Adjudicate
  • For the purpose of adjudging under this Chapter whether any person has committed a contravention of any of the provisions of this Act or of any rule, regulation, direction or order made thereunder the Central Government shall, subject to the provisions of sub-section (3), appoint any officer not below the rank of a Director to the Government of India or an equivalent officer of a State Government to be an adjudicating officer for holding an inquiry in the manner prescribed by the Central Government.
  • The adjudicating officer shall, after giving the person referred to in sub-section (1) a reasonable opportunity for making representation in the matter and if, on such inquiry, he is satisfied that the person has committed the contravention, he may impose such penalty or award such compensation as he thinks fit in accordance with the provisions of that section.
  • No person shall be appointed as an adjudicating officer unless he possesses such experience in the field of Information Technology and legal or judicial experience as may be prescribed by the Central Government.
  • Where more than one adjudicating officers are appointed, the Central Government shall specify by order the matters and places with respect to which such officers shall exercise their jurisdiction.
  • Every adjudicating officer shall have the powers of a civil court which are conferred oh the Cyber Appellate Tribunal under sub-section (2) of section 58
  • All proceedings before it shall be deemed to be judicial proceedings within the meaning of sections 193 and 228 of the Indian Penal Code;
  • Shall be deemed to be a civil court for the purposes of sections 345 and 346 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973.
Factors to be taken into Account by the Adjudicating Officer
While adjudging the quantum of compensation under this Chapter, the adjudicating officer shall have due regard to the following factors, namely:
  • The amount of gain of unfair advantage, wherever quantifiable, made as a result of the default;
  • The amount of loss caused to any person as a result of the default;
  • The repetitive nature of the default
The Cyber Regulations Appellate Tribunal
Establishment of Cyber Appellate Tribunal
  • The Central Government shall, by notification, establish one or more appellate tribunals to be known as the Cyber Regulations Appellate Tribunal.
  • The Central Government shall also specify, in the notification referred to in sub-section (1), the matters and places in relation to which the Cyber Appellate Tribunal may exercise jurisdiction.
Composition of Cyber Appellate Tribunal.
A Cyber Appellate Tribunal shall consist of one person only (hereinafter referred to as the Residing Officer of the Cyber Appellate Tribunal) to be appointed, by notification, by the Central Government

Qualifications for Appointment as Presiding Officer of the Cyber Appellate Tribunal.
A person shall not be qualified for appointment as the Presiding Officer of a Cyber Appellate Tribunal unless he-
  • Is, or has been. or is qualified to be, a Judge of a High Court; or
  • Is or has been a member of the Indian Legal Service and is holding or has held a post in Grade I of that Service for at least three years.
Term of Office
The Presiding Officer of a Cyber Appellate Tribunal shall hold office for a term of five years from the date on which he enters upon his office or until he attains the age of sixty-five years, whichever is earlier.

Salary, Allowances and Other Terms and Conditions of Service of Presiding Officer.

The salary and allowances payable to, and the other terms and conditions of service including pension, gratuity and other retirement benefits of. the Presiding Officer of a Cyber Appellate Tribunal shall be such as may be prescribed:

Provided that neither the salary and allowances nor the other terms and conditions of service of the Presiding Officer shall be varied to his disadvantage after appointment.

Filling up of Vacancies

If, for reason other than temporary absence, any vacancy occurs in the office n the Presiding Officer of a Cyber Appellate Tribunal, then the Central Government shall appoint another person in accordance with the provisions of this Act to fill the vacancy and the proceedings may be continued before the Cyber Appellate Tribunal from the stage at which the vacancy is filled.

Resignation and Removal

  • The Presiding Officer of a Cyber Appellate Tribunal may, by notice in writing under his hand addressed to the Central Government, resign his office:
  • Provided that the said Presiding Officer shall, unless he is permitted by the Central Government to relinquish his office sooner, continue to hold office until the expiry of three months from the date of receipt of such notice or until a person duly appointed as his successor enters upon his office or until the expiry of his term of office, whichever is the earliest.
  • The Presiding Officer of a Cyber Appellate Tribunal shall not be removed from his office except by an order by the Central Government on the ground of proved misbehaviour or incapacity after an inquiry made by a Judge of the Supreme Court in which the Presiding Officer concerned has been informed of the charges against him and given a reasonable opportunity of being heard in respect of these charges.
  • The Central Government may, by rules, regulate the procedure for the investigation of mis behaviour or incapacity of the aforesaid Presiding Officer.
Orders Constituting Appellate Tribunal to be final and not to Invalidate its Proceedings
No order of the Central Government appointing any person as the Presiding Officer of a Cyber Appellate Tribunal shall be called in question in any manner and no act or proceeding before a Cyber Appellate Tribunal shall be called in question in any manner on the ground merely of any defect in the constitution of a Cyber Appellate Tribunal.

Staff of the Cyber Appellate Tribunal

  • (1) The Central Government shall provide the Cyber Appellate Tribunal with such officers and employees as that Government may think fit
  • (2) The officers and employees of the Cyber Appellate Tribunal shall discharge their functions under general superintendence of the Presiding Officer.
  • (3) The salaries, allowances and other conditions of service of the officers and employees or' the Cyber Appellate Tribunal shall be such as may be prescribed by the Central Government.
Appeal to Cyber Appellate Tribunal
  • Save as provided in sub-section (2), any person aggrieved by an order made by Controller or an adjudicating officer under this Act may prefer an appeal to a Cyber Appellate Tribunal having jurisdiction in the matter.
  • No appeal shall lie to the Cyber Appellate Tribunal from an order made by an adjudicating officer with the consent of the parties.
  • Every appeal under sub-section (1) shall be filed within a period of tony-five days from the date on which a copy of the order made by the Controller or the adjudicating officer is received by the person aggrieved and it shall be in such form and be accompanied by such fee as may be prescribed:
  • Provided that the Cyber Appellate Tribunal may entertain an appeal after the expiry of the said period of tony-five days if it is satisfied that there was sufficient cause tor not filing it within that period.
  • On receipt of an appeal under sub-section (1), the Cyber Appellate Tribunal may, after giving the parties to the appeal, an opportunity of being heard, pass such orders thereon as it thinks fit, confirming, modifying or setting aside the order appealed against.
  • The Cyber Appellate Tribunal shall send a copy of every order made by it to" the parties to the appeal and to the concerned Controller or adjudicating officer.
  • The appeal filed before the Cyber Appellate Tribunal under sub-section (1) shall be dealt with by it as expeditiously as possible and endeavour shall be made by it to dispose of the appeal finally within six months from the date of receipt of the appeal.
Procedure and Powers of the Cyber Appellate Tribunal
The Cyber Appellate Tribunal shall not be bound by the procedure laid down by the Code of civil Procedure, 1908 but shall be guided by the principles of natural justice and, subject to the other provisions of this Act and of any rules, the Cyber Appellate Tribunal shall have powers to regulate its own procedure including the place at which it shall have its sittings.

The Cyber Appellate Tribunal shall have, for the purposes of discharging its functions under this Act, the same powers as are vested in a civil court under the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, while trying a suit, in respect of the following matters, namely:
  • Summoning and enforcing the attendance of any person and examining him on oath;
  • Requiring the discovery and production of documents or other electronic records;
  • Receiving evidence on affidavits;
  • Issuing commissions for the examination of witnesses or documents;
  • Reviewing its decisions;
  • Dismissing an application for default or deciding it ex pane;
  • Any other matter which may be prescribed.
Every proceeding before the Cyber Appellate Tribunal shall be deemed to be a judicial proceeding within the meaning of sections 193 and 228, and for the purposes of section 196 of the Indian Penal Code and the Cyber Appellate Tribunal shall be deemed to be a civil court for the purposes of section 195 and Chapter XXVI of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973.

Right to Legal Representation

The appellant may either appear in person or authorize one or more legal practitioners or any of its officers to present his or its case before the Cyber Appellate Tribunal.

Limitation

The provisions of the Limitation Act, 1963, shall, as far as may be, apply to an appeal made to the Cyber Appellate Tribunal.

Civil Court not to have Jurisdiction

No court shall have jurisdiction to entertain any suit or proceeding in respect of any matter which an adjudicating officer appointed under this Act or the Cyber Appellate Tribunal constituted under this Act is empowered by or under this Act to determine and no injunction shall be granted by any court or other authority in respect of any action taken or to be taken in pursuance of any power conferred by or under this Act.

Appeal to High Court

Any person aggrieved by any decision or order of the Cyber Appellate Tribunal may file an appeal to the High Court within sixty days from the date of communication of the decision or order of the Cyber Appellate Tribunal to him on any question of fact or law arising out of such order

Provided that the High Court may, if it is satisfied that the appellant was prevented by sufficient cause from filing the appeal within the said period, allow it to be filed within a further period not exceeding sixty days.

Compounding of Contraventions

Any contravention under this Chapter may, either before or after the institution of adjudication proceedings, be compounded by the Controller or such other officer as may be specially authorised by him in this behalf or by the adjudicating officer, as the case may be, subject to such conditions as the Controller or such other officer or the adjudicating officer may specify:

Provided that such sum shall not, in any case, exceed the maximum amount of the penalty which may be imposed under this Act for the contravention so compounded.

Nothing in sub-section (1) shall apply to a person who commits the same or similar contravention within a period of three years from the date on which the first contravention, committed by him, was compounded.

Explanation.- For the purposes of this sub-section, any second or subsequent contravention committed after the expiry of a period of three years from the date on which the contravention was previously compounded shall be deemed to be a first contravention.

Where any contravention has been compounded under sub-section (1), no proceeding or further proceeding, as the case may be, shall be taken against the person guilty of such contravention in respect of the contravention so compounded.

Recovery of Penalty

A penalty imposed under this Act, if it is not paid, shall be recovered as an arrear of land revenue and the licence or the Digital Signature Certificate, as the case may be, shall be suspended till the penalty is paid.

Offences

Tampering with Computer Source Documents

Whoever knowingly or intentionally conceals, destroys or alters or intentionally or knowingly causes another to conceal, destroy or alter any computer source code used for a computer, computer programme, computer system or computer network, when the computer source code is required to be kept or maintained by law for the time being in force, shall be punishable with imprisonment up to three years, or with fine which may extend up to two lakh rupees, or with both.

Explanation.- For the purposes of this section, "computer source code" means the listing of programmes, computer commands, design and layout and programme analysis of computer resource in any form.

Hacking with Computer  System

Whoever with the intent to cause or knowing that he is likely to cause wrongful loss or damage to the public or any person destroys or deletes or alters any information residing in a computer resource or diminishes its value or utility or affects it injuriously by any means, commits hack:

Whoever commits hacking shall be punished with imprisonment up to three years, or with fine which may extend upto two lakh rupees, or with both.

Publishing of Information which is Obscene in Electronic Form

Whoever publishes or transmits or causes to be published in the electronic form, any material which is lascivious or appeals to the prurient interest or if its effect is such as to tend to deprave and corrupt persons who are likely, having regard to all relevant circumstances, to read, see or hear the matter contained or embodied in it, shall be punished on first conviction with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to five years and with fine which may extend to one lakh rupees and in the event of a second or subsequent conviction with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to ten years and also with fine which may extend to two lakh rupees.

Power of Controller to Give Directions

  • The Controller may, by order, direct a Certifying Authority or any employee of such Authority to take such measures or cease carrying on such activities as specified in the order if those are necessary to ensure compliance with the provisions of this Act, rules or any regulations made thereunder.
  • Any person who fails to comply with any order under sub-section (1) shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on conviction to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years or to a Fine not exceeding two lakh rupees or to both.
Directions of Controller to a Subscriber to Extend Facilities to Decrypt  Information
  • If the Controller is satisfied that it is necessary or expedient so to do in the interest of the sovereignty or integrity of India, the security of the State, friendly relations with foreign Stales or public order or for preventing incitement to the commission of any cognizable offence, for reasons to be recorded in writing, by order, direct any agency of the Government to intercept any information transmitted through any computer resource.
  • The subscriber or any person in-charge of the computer resource shall, when called upon by any agency which has been directed under sub-section (1), extend all facilities and technical assistance to decrypt the information.
  • The subscriber or any person who fails to assist the agency referred to in sub-section (2) shall be punished with an imprisonment for a term which may extend to seven years.
Protected System
  • The appropriate Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, declare that any computer, computer system or computer network to be a protected system.
  • The appropriate Government may, by order in writing, authorize the persons who are authorized to access protected systems notified under sub-section.
  • Any person who secures access or attempts to secure access to a protected system in contravention of the provisions of this section shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to ten years and shall also be liable to fine.
Penalty for Misrepresentation.
Whoever makes any misrepresentation to, or suppresses any material fact from, the Controller or the Certifying Authority for obtaining any licence or Digital Signature Certificate, as the case may be. shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine which may extend to one lakh rupees, or with both.
 
Penalty for Breach of Confidentiality and Privacy

Save as otherwise provided in this Act or any other law for the time being in force, any person who, in pursuance of any of the powers conferred under this Act, rules or regulations made thereunder, has secured access to any electronic record, book, register, correspondence, information, document or other material without the consent of the person concerned discloses such electronic record, book. register, correspondence, information, document or other material to any other person shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine which may extend to one lakh rupees, or with both.

Penalty for Publishing Digital Signature Certificate False in Certain Particulars

No person shall publish a Digital Signature Certificate or otherwise make it available to any other person with the knowledge that::
  • The Certifying Authority listed in the certificate has not issued it; or
  • The subscriber listed in the certificate has not accepted it; or
  • The certificate has been revoked or suspended,
unless such publication is for the purpose of verifying a digital signature created prior to such suspension or revocation.

Any person who contravenes the provisions of sub-section (1) shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine which may extend to one lakh rupees, or with both.

Publication for Fraudulent Purpose

Whoever knowingly creates, publishes or otherwise makes available a Digital Signature Certificate for any fraudulent or unlawful purpose shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine which may extend to one lakh rupees, or with both.

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