Historical Development Of IT Law In India by Shikha at Lexcliq.

The History of Information Technology Act, 2000 is dated back to the year 1988 where the need of cyber law was first felt in the case of R V. Gold and Schifreen[1]. The facts are as follows, a hacker hacked the computer system and stole some important data. The case was filed in the court in Great Britain but at time there existed no such cyber law but Forgery and Counterfeiting Act, 1981 so case was filed under this very act. The Court held that the case filed against the defendant under the Forgery and Counterfeiting Act, 1981 is not applicable in this case because the cat is silent about computers and offences related to computer. Thus, the defendant was acquitted because there existed no particular legislation or statute at that time which could punish that offence related to computers. With the learning of this case computer Misuse Act, 1990 was enacted in Great Britain.  It was the first act which recognized and punished the offences such as unauthorized access to computer, unauthorized access with the intent to commit or facilitate commission of further offences, unauthorized act with intent to repair or with recklessness as to impairing, operation of computers etc.

But, with the globalization and complexity of crimes being evolved the International Community together felt the need of a law which would set uniform standards for electronic commerce thus the UNCITRAL Model Law was passed in 1996 in the United Nation. The United Nations Commissions on International Trade Law is a core legal body of UN system in the field of International Trade Law which is based on the principles of non-discrimination, technological neutrality and functional equivalence.

In India in the year 2000 the first cyber law was enforced know as the Information Technology Act which has major parts taken from the UNCITRAL. Before this the laws like Indian Penal Code, Indian Evidence Act, Bankers Books Evidence Act, Reserve Bank of India Act was in force in India. The need was felt for introducing a new law and for making suitable amendments to the existing laws to facilitate e-commerce and give legal recognition to electronic records and digital signatures. So, in year the Information Technology Bill, 1999 was passed by both the houses in May of 2000, received assent of President in August of 2000 and came to be known as Information Technology Act, 2000. The Act begins with various definitions, deals with chapter related with authentication of electronic record,  digital signature,  electronic signature,  procedures for certifying authority, various cyber crime along with their punishment,  role of intermediaries etc. The IT Act,  2000 facilitates both e-commerce and e-governance and enable legal regime of electronic record and digital signature. It also regulates  cyber crime and also provide the redressed mechanism.

Soon a need was felt for the amendment in the IT Act, 2000  because of the hastily legislation. IT Act being silent on conflict of jurisdiction, electronic commerce is based domain name and it act is silent on domain name, silent on IPR issues etc. So, the Amendment of 2008 was brought in the IT ACT, 2000. Many changes were brought in like the act incorporated of electronic signature, more cyber offences were added, new provisions for data protection and privacy etc. The information technology Amendment Bill of 2008 was passed by both the houses by in December 2008 and receive the  assent of President in February of 2009.  The bill aims to make sweeping changes in the law of existing cybercrime law framework including inserting new express provisions to bring more cybercrime within the purview of the IT Act, 2000. The amendment in  the act included new definitions including communication device, cyber cafe, cyber security, electronic signature,  computer network, information, intermediary and Indian Computer Emergency Response Team. Also, the new section of 43A related to data protection was also added in the Act. The new section of 72 have been added that provides punishment for disclosure of information in breach of contract. Both these new sections provides for data protection regime in the country.  New  cyber crime  like cyber terrorism was also added. The act has been made Technology neutral that means that earlier only digital signature based on Asymmetric Cryptography were recognized as electronic signature to sign electronic document or default but now section 3 of the digital signature have been replaced by electronic signature. Now the central government is empowered to issue any other type of signature based on new technology under section 15 and 16.

Important rule and regulation under the IT Act 

  • IT  (Electronic Service Delivery) rules, 2011.
  • IT (Reasonable Security Practices And Procedures And Sensitive Personal Data Or Information) rules, 2011.
  • IT (Intermediary Guidelines) rules, 2011.
  • IT (Guidelines for Cyber Cafe) rules, 2011.
  • IT (The Indian  Computer Emergency Response Team And Manner Of Performing Function And Duty) rules, 2013.
  • IT (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) rules, 2021.



[1] [1988] 1 AC 1063 (HL)

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