E-commerce is an online based business model, which refers to an online market portal where people can buy and sell products and services using electronic means. E commerce usually functions using a lot of electronic services itself like the internet services, electronic funds transfer services and portals, electronic data interchange, internet marketing, data collection systems and services just to name a few. In India, due to most services of e Commerce is availed through electronic means in the online environment, the laws that govern its functioning to keep checks and balances are oriented in the same way.
Laws Governing E-Commerce
- Indian Information Technology Act and E-commerce:
Indian Information Technology (IT) Act gives the much required recognition to the services and validity of the services provided by e-commerce. Such as to the electronics records or electronic signatures, which are the requirements for facilitating paper less trading.
Under this Act, the Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology also has provided for the Information Technology Rule, 2000 for prescribing safe and secure practices and procedures to be undertaken by these business models. This also facilitates the protection of sensitive personal data or information of consumers and sellers alike. Under Section 72A of the Information & Technology Amendment Act, 2008, the punishment for disclosure of information in breach of a lawful contract is laid down.
2. FDI guidelines for e-commerce by DIPP:
Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion (DIPP) has issued guidelines for Foreign Direct investment (FDI) in e-commerce. In India upto100% FDI is permitted in B2B (business to business) e-commerce, although no FDI was permitted in B2C (business to consumer) e-commerce earlier. Under the new guidelines for FDI in e-commerce, under automatic route, 100% FDI is legalized in marketplace model for e-commerce. However FDI is not permitted in inventory based model of e-commerce.
E-commerce in recent times has even become an essential part of various multilateral negotiations such as WTO, BRICS, Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), etc. Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology is at the forefront of such negotiations on e-commerce on behalf of India.