Electronic commerce laws in India are in their infancy stage. Presently we have no dedicated electronic commerce laws in India and legal requirements for undertaking e-commerce in India are still maturing.
Similarly, adoption of online disputes resolution (ODR) in India is also at early stage. Corporate disputes and online disputes resolution in India and e-commerce disputes resolution in India are the upcoming trends that corporate world of India is exploring. Particularly, many e-commerce players in India have shown their interest in using ODR for resolving their customers’ disputes in an online environment.
Electronic commerce brings both comforts and discomforts to its users. The comforts include on the spot sales and purchase, competitive costs, convenience, saving of time, etc. The discomforts include frauds and cyber crimes committed against e-commerce users. At times there are disagreements and dissatisfactions as well among buyers and purchasers that cannot be resolved using traditional litigation methods.
This is the reason why we need alternative dispute resolution (ADR) mechanism to resolve e-commerce disputes in India. E-commerce regulations and laws in India are limited in nature and this does not allow use of ADR mechanisms and technology driven solutions. For instance, while European Union and other nations are increasingly using online dispute resolution (ODR) for resolving many aspects of e-commerce disputes yet online dispute resolution (ODR) in India is still not known.
Similarly, establishment of e-courts in India can also facilitate early and effective e-commerce disputes resolutions in India. However, till February 2012 we are still waiting for the establishment of first e-court in India. E-courts and ODR in India are urgently required to reduce backlog of cases and for reducing increasing pressure upon traditional courts. E-courts and ODR can also help in e-commerce disputes resolutions in India.
Some of the areas where we must pay special attention include technology related dispute resolution in India, film, media and entertainment industry dispute resolution in India, cross border e-commerce dispute resolution in India, etc. E-courts and ODR can be effectively used for all the abovementioned purposes.
E-commerce players in India have many techno legal obligations to follow and cyber law due diligence in India is one such obligation. Not only legal requirements for undertaking e-commerce in India are stringent but even Internet intermediaries liability in India must be taken seriously by companies engaged in online transactions and businesses.
Realising that cyberspace can bring many commercial benefits; both individuals and companies are ensuring that they have strong online presence. More and more brand promotion and protection in India are done these days in an online environment. Companies and individuals are also ensuring domain name protection in India so that their reputation and goodwill is not misappropriated by others. Brand protection, reputation management and domain name cyber squatting disputes are at rise and the same can be resolved using e-courts and ODR in India.
However, there is a general lack of awareness regarding use of e-courts and ODR for e-commerce disputes resolution. Further, there are very few e-commerce lawyers and law firms in India that can provide expert services in this regard. E-commerce players must also be aware that other laws, including intellectual property laws, can make these e-commerce players labile for civil and criminal actions. For instance, these e-commerce players can be held liable for online infringement of copyright in India of the copyright owners. Similarly, if any person posts an offending material at the e-commerce site or otherwise deal with the e-commerce site in an illegal manner, the e-commerce site owner may find himself in trouble.
Perry4Law and Perry4Law’s Techno Legal Base (PTLB) strongly recommend that before opening an e-commerce website or business, the owner of the same must consult a good techno legal law firm that can advice him upon all the possible and applicable aspect of e-commerce laws in India. Further, Perry4Law and PTLB also recommend active use of e-courts and ODR in India for resolving e-commerce disputes resolutions in India and corporate disputes in India.
We also believe that more effective and useful e-commerce laws in India must be formulated that expressly deal with e-commerce aspects in India. Let us hope that these suggestions would be implemented by Indian government very soon.