Electronic commerce is an established business model in western countries. The same is in its infancy stage in Asian countries like India. There are many hurdles before the successful replication of e-commerce models of western nations in India. These include both technical and legal hurdles.
Legal issues of e-commerce in India are still evolving. The only reference about the legal framework in this regard can be found in the form of some provisions in the Information Technology Act, 2000. There are some crucial legal formalities that every e-commerce entrepreneur must comply with to run his business in a legally risk free manner. Further, there are many techno legal formalities that every e-commerce website must comply with.
Due to inadequate and confusing legal framework and lack of awareness, e-commerce legal compliances are not followed by the e-commerce businesses in India. Despite much effort, i could not find many legal blogs on e-commerce in India. There are two e-commerce legal blogs in India that are managed by ICT law firm Perry4Law. The same can be found here1 and here2.
Some of the e-commerce fields covered by these blogs include domain name protection, Bitcoins exchanges compliances, online medicine sales, prescribed medicine sales, e-commerce business structuring, FDI policy in multi brand retail in India, e-books issues, etc.
There is a general tendency among the e-commerce entrepreneurs of India to ignore compliance with Indian laws despite pressing needs to do the same. As a result many e-commerce websites have found themselves into legal troubles.
For instance, OLX and 99Acres have found themselves in the legal tangles of Internet intermediary liability. Similarly, the Indian Enforcement Directorate (ED) searched Seven Digital Cash LLP office and website for selling and buying Bitcoins in India allegedly in a possible illegal manner. It has also been found that at least 200 websites are selling animals and animal’s parts in an illegal manner. Many online pharmacies websites in India are under regulatory scanner and punishment may be imposed against the offenders. Adult merchandise and accessories website in India are also violating Indian laws. Online gambling rackets are also busted occasionally by Indian law enforcement agencies from time to time.
These are just some of the examples as the list is too long to be reproduced here. There is an urgent need on the part of Indian government to formulate strict e-commerce laws in India. Similarly, the e-commerce entrepreneurs must also comply with the techno legal requirements before they launch their projects in India.