The E-commerce sector in present days is witnessing an unprecedented rise, wherein the online buyers are no more limited to the younger ones but include the elder ones. People in present world like to shop while sitting comfortably at home. As per the Indian Daily, Economic Times the number of online buyers in India in the year 2015 were 50 million and the same estimated to rise to 310 million by the year 2019.
For smooth functioning, it is essential that the appropriate laws be made so that any kind of fraud may be prevented and the interest of the consumers who shop online be protected.
Two Types of Transactions in E-commerce Sector
- B2B – Under this type, the e-commerce transaction is conducted between the two distinct businesses. In other words, we can say that the exchange of goods, information, services are between businessmen rather than between consumer and businessman. Under B2B the mode of communication is electronic mode. Some transactions under this model include sending and receiving orders, bill etc.
- B2C- Under this type, e-commerce transaction includes the sale of goods, services from a business to public in general i.e. ultimate consumer. Goods can include anything ranging from a pin to the car and also include services such as transport, banking etc.
Laws Governing E-commerce in India
Under the Indian Contract Act, 1872.
In e-commerce transactions, e-contracts are formed which in actual are standard form agreements. Thus as per Section 10 of the Indian Contract Act, 1872 the contact to be valid must satisfy the following requirement-
- It must be entered with the free consent of the parties to the contract.
- There must be a lawful consideration for the contract
The parties must be competent to enter into a contract
- An objective of the contract should be lawful. In other words, it should not be illegal.
- Under the Information Technology Act.
The provisions are contained under the Information Technology Act, 2008. Section 10 A of the IT Act, 2008 provides for the validity of the contract entered through electronic modes. It says whenever the communication and acceptance of the proposal, its revocation and acceptances are made in electronic form, such contract shall not be deemed to be invalid or unenforceable solely on the ground that electronic means is used for the purpose.
Jurisdiction in E-commerce Transactions
The Delhi High Court in case of WWE INC. V. M/S RESHMA COLLECTION 2014 has answered the question relating to jurisdiction in case of e-commerce transactions (intellectual property). The honorable court in the above-stated case held that in e-commerce cases involving copyright and patent cases the jurisdiction will be the shoppers or buyers place of residence.
Provisions Regulating Privacy in E-commerce Transactions
The provisions are contained in the Information Technology Act, 2008. The IT act provides an excellent chapter in the form of secure electronic records and Electronic Signatures.
Section 66 A of the IT Act, 2008 imposes a penalty in case of theft of identity and provides that whosoever person dishonestly uses the password, identity of other shall be punished with imprisonment that may extend to 2 years or with fine 1,00,000 rupees or both.
In addition to this, Section 84 A of the Act cast a duty on the Central Govt. for the promotion of e-governance and e-commerce. It also has to provide for secures use of electronic mean.
Provisions regarding the data protection are contained in Section 43 A of the IT Act, 2008.
E-commerce sector which at present is at the rising stage is facing various legal complications and facing several challenges from the traditional method of buying and selling. The ultimate law regarding the e-commerce is evolving from the decisions given by the judiciary and Quasi-judicial authorities. There is a need for proper vigilance of the e-commerce sector so that no online shopper is misrepresented or is made fool. Overall, E-commerce is helping our economy to grow at a good pace.