Information Technology Act, 2000

The Information Technology Act, 2000 is also known as ITA-2000, or the IT Act. It is an Act of the Indian Parliament No 21 of 2000 notified on 17 October 2000. It is the primary law in India dealing with cybercrime and electronic commerce. It is based on the United Nations Model Law on Electronic Commerce 1996 (UNCITRAL Model) recommended by the General Assembly of United Nations by a resolution dated 30 January 1997.

Objectives of the Act

Following are the objectives of the Information Technology Act:

1. To grant legal recognition for transactions carried out by means of electronic data interchange and other means of electronic communication commonly referred to as “electronic commerce” in place of paper based methods of communication.

2. To give legal recognition to Digital signatures for authentication of any information or matter, which requires authentication under any law.

3. To facilitate electronic filing of documents with Government departments.

4. To facilitate electronic storage of data.

5. To facilitate and give legal sanction to electronic fund transfers between banks and financial institutions.

6. To give legal recognition for keeping of books of accounts by banker’s in electronic form.

Features Information Technology Act

In the light of the various objectives of the act and provisions contained therein,the following may be described as the main features of the Act.

  1. Electronic contracts have been made legally valid if made through ‘secure electronic communication’.
  2. Legal recognition has been granted to digital signatures.
  3. Security procedures for electronic records and digital signatures have laid down.
  4. Digital signature are required to be effect by the use of ‘asymmetric crypto system’ and ‘hash function’.
  5. A recognition has been granted to the right of licensed Certifying Authorities (CAs) to issue digital signature certificates and a provision has been made for the appointment of Controller of Certifying Authorities(CCA) to grant license to and regulate the working of certifying authorities.
  6. The controller is to act as repository of all digital signature certificates.
  7. To facilitate e-governance,provisions have been included to build the required systems.
  8. Various types of computer-related crimes have been defined and stringent penalties provided under the Act.
  9. A procedure has been laid down under the act for appointment of adjudicating officers for holding inquiries.
  10. A provision has been made under the Act for the establishment of Cyber Regulatory Appellate Tribunal,an appeal against the order of the Controller or Adjudicating Officer can be made to this Tribunal only and not to any Civil Court.
  11. An appeal against the order of the Cyber Appellate Tribunal can made in the High Court.
  12. The act will also apply on offenses or contraventions committed outside India.
  13. Senior police officers and other officers have been given power to enter any public place and search and arrest without warrant.
  14. Provisions has been made for the constitution of a Cyber Regulations Advisory Committee to advise the Central Government and the Controller.