Online Pharmacy And E-Pharmacy Laws In India

Monday, April 22, 2013

E-Commerce Websites In India Must Be Regulated By Indian Government

An ineffective cyber law of India and lack of cyber law skills among the law enforcement agencies of India is resulting in increased cyber crimes and offences through the medium of e-commerce websites in India. Further, cyber law awareness in India is also missing that is resulting in increased e-commerce frauds in India.

In these circumstances, e-commerce websites frauds, offences and crimes in India have increased a lot. For instance, the e-commerce sites selling adult merchandise in India are openly violating the laws of India. Similarly, e-commerce websites in India are engaging in punishable soft porn publication and Indian government is sleeping over the matter.

There are well recognised legal requirements to start an e-commerce website in India and the legal formalities required for starting e-commerce business in India. As on date, the e-commerce websites are not following such techno legal requirements. They are also not following the cyber law due diligence requirements of India and are liable for Internet intermediary liability in India.

E-commerce websites dealing with online pharmacies, online gamming and gambling, online selling of adult merchandise, etc are openly and continuously violating the laws of India, including the cyber law of India. However, India government has yet to take action against these offending e-commerce websites of India.

Fortunately, the Supreme Court of India is taking some action in this regard. Recently, the Supreme Court of India has sought response from central government over blocking of porn website sin India.  Similarly, the Supreme Court of India has entertained a public interest litigation seeking regulations and guidelines for effective investigation of cyber crimes in India.

The cyber law of India is too weak to tackle cyber criminals effectively. In fact, cyber law of India should be repealed and an effective cyber law must be formulated as soon as possible. The cyber criminals are becoming innovative day by day and our laws are grossly inadequate to deal with the same.

For instance, numerous websites, both Indian and foreign, are violating the cyber law of India by operating illegal e-commerce websites in India. These websites are engaging in illegal trade in wildlife, promising home delivery of live animals, prized animal parts and rare medicinal plants from across nations through simple internet banking formats.

These are transnational crimes where the authorship attribution for cyber crimes is very difficult to establish. Realising this reality, the India's wildlife crime control bureau (WCCB) is utilising the services of cyber crime experts to trace such cyber criminals. A preliminary inquiry by WCCB bureau's cyber crime specialists has indicated that nearly a thousand websites are advertising sale and delivery of live animals and animal products protected under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 of India and the global convention on international trade in endangered species (CITES). 

Surprisingly, most of these websites are popular shopping websites, online classifieds and free ad posting websites, etc. They are clearly violating the cyber law and other laws of India and Indian government is not taking any action against these websites. It is high time to take strict penal action against such illegal e-commerce websites in India.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Telemedicine Laws In India

There is no second opinion about the fact that when technology is used for medical purposes, it gives rise to medico legal and techno legal issues. Countries around the world have realised this fact and they have made suitable laws to tackle these medico legal and techno legal issues.

For instance, in United States, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA), Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH Act), etc are some of the laws that take care of medico legal and techno legal issues of e-health and telemedicine.

On the other hand, we have no dedicated telemedicine laws in India. Issues like online sales of prescribed medicines in India, digital communication channels for drugs and healthcare products in Indiaonline sales and purchase of prescribed drugs and medicines in India, etc are still vague and confusing.

E-health laws and regulations in India are still missing and legal enablement of e-health in India is needed on an urgent basis. As on date e-health in India is facing legal roadblocks. Till now we do not have any dedicated e-health laws and regulations in India.

At Perry4Law Organisation and Perry4Law’s Techno Legal Base (PTLB) we firmly believe that dedicated telemedicine laws of India must be urgently formulated.

This is more so when there are many people and institutions in India that are using Internet in an illegal manner for selling medical products and services. Illegal and unregulated online sales of prescribed medicines in India are rampant and Indian government has still not regulated or controlled these online sales of medicines in India, especially in the NCR region.

Similarly, there are some medical professional and para medical professional who are using Internet for providing their services without following the applicable laws of India. There are also many online pharmacies in India that are violating Indian laws, especially the e-commerce laws and regulations of India.

It is high time for Indian government to regulated Internet related medical issues in India before they become a big nuisance and health hazard for Indian citizens and residents.

Source: P4LO Blog.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Is Online Gambling And Betting Legal In India?

As a leading techno legal ICT law firm of India, Perry4Law is frequently approached for numerous techno legal issues. One of them pertains to e-commerce laws and regulations in India.

Recently many queries have been raised about the applicable online gambling laws and regulations in India.  We have also observed that e-commerce legal compliances in India are not followed in true letter and spirit. This may be due to lack of knowledge about applicable e-commerce laws but ignorance of laws is no excuse.

If e-commerce players do not follow the laws of the land, they may found themselves in uncomfortable situations. For instance, cyber law due diligence, Internet intermediary liability and cyber due diligence for Indian companies are some of the issues that have been ignored by almost all e-commerce players of India.

Coming back to the burning issue whether online gambling and online betting is legal in India or not? We have already covered the legality of online gambling and betting in India and other e-commerce compliance requirements in India but we would briefly cover the same once again.

The golden rule for deciding whether online gambling in India is legal or nor has to be judged by many factors that depends upon the facts and circumstances of each case and upon state to state. There are many states in India where gambling is legal and few where even online gambling and betting is legal. However, there are some states like Mumbai where online gambling is expressly prohibited and made a punishable offense. So it depends upon the state where you wish to carry the online gambling and betting business.

Then there is the rule of skills versus chance as laid down by the courts of India. As a general rule, where the game involves application of skill on the part of the player and the element of chance is minimal, the activity would be considered to be a game and not an act of gambling. However, the applicability of this test of skill versus chance may not be applicable to online or Internet games, betting and gambling as various judicial decisions pertaining to different sets of facts and circumstances and can be distinguished easily in subsequent litigations.

Finally, economic and taxation legislations like tax laws of India, anti money laundering laws, etc are also involved while operating online casinos, online gambling and betting and online gamming platforms.  The provisions of these economic legislations are very stringent in nature and can cause great detriment to the owner or operator of the online casino, gambling and betting website.

To be on a safer side, it is better to comply with various techno legal laws of India while opening an online gambling, gaming and betting platform rather than facing the punitive provisions of Indian laws.

E-Commerce Compliances In India

E-commerce is the latest entrepreneur bandwagon in India. Thousands of e-commerce portals have emerged during the year 2012. However, in the zest of earning profit, legal and compliance requirements pertaining to e-commerce have been totally ignored by almost all the e-commerce portals.

The most vulnerable categories that have opened their online shops pertain to online pharmacies, online gambling and gaming, electronics, etc. These e-commerce portals are not at all complying with the respective laws of these segments.

Even the Indian government is lax in implementing the regulatory and compliance requirements against these illegal online pharmacies, gambling portals and other similar e-commerce platforms.

This has posed serious threat to not only lives of millions but also to the socio-economic and law and order situation n India. Regulatory bodies covering these fields must be more vigil while keeping a tab upon illegal and unethical activities of those e-commerce portals that are flouting the laws of India.  

There are many techno legal compliance requirements that e-commerce portals of India must comply with. At Perry4Law and Perry4Law’s Techno Legal Base (PTLB) we believe that cyber law due diligence, Internet intermediary liability and cyber due diligence for Indian companies must be kept in mind by various e-commerce websites and players.

Presently, cyber law compliances, due diligence and techno legal compliances are not followed by various e-commerce websites in India. There is an urgent need to scrutinise these e-commerce portals and prosecute the guilty for violations of Indian laws.

It would amount to adoption of double standards by Indian government if it plays harsh upon foreign companies but leaves Indian companies and e-commerce portals untouched. Let us hope Indian government would do the needful in this regard as soon as possible.

Online Gambling Laws And Regulations In India

Online gambling in India has aroused great interest among many e-commerce entrepreneurs of India. This is because online gambling is a very remunerative and profit oriented business. However, online gambling is also a complicated business filed as many laws and technical issues have to be resolved at the same time.

We have a central law on gambling called the Public Gambling Act of 1867. Similarly, we have many state laws on gambling that are mostly based upon the central law. Further, almost all the state laws are regulating real world or offline gambling in India. The exception in this regard can be found in the laws applicable in places like Goa and Sikkim.

Recently Goa has made its casino laws very stringent keep in mind the money laundering, black money and tax evasion issues in mind. Similarly, Sikkim is also in the process of harmonising its laws with the central laws.

As far as judiciary is concerned, the Supreme Court of India has made a distinction between skills based and chance based gaming activities. Of course, each case depends upon its own facts and circumstances and the respective state law and we cannot apply one decision uniformly in all cases of gambling and online gambling. 

The e-commerce laws and regulations in India are still at the infancy stage. As a matter of fact, a majority of e-commerce portals and players in India are not following the laws of the land in true letter and spirit. Surprisingly, there is a general misconception among the e-commerce players of India that for running an e-commerce website in India they need not to follow much law. On the contrary, there are well recognised legal requirements to start an e-commerce website in India and the legal formalities required for starting e-commerce business in India.

The chief among these e-commerce players are online pharmacies, online gambling and gaming portals, electronics e-commerce websites, etc. They fail to understand that use of technology has brought additional legal issues that are primarily techno legal in nature. Their continued ignorance may bring civil, criminal and financial penalties. The recent spate of FDI crackdowns by India government proves this point.

At Perry4Law and Perry4Law’s Techno Legal Base (PTLB) we believe that cyber law due diligence, Internet intermediary liability and cyber due diligence for Indian companies must be kept in mind by various e-commerce websites and players. The skill and chance and state subject legal arguments are not sufficient to comply with complicated techno legal requirements of India as on date. So before launching an e-commerce portal, the concerned person or company must make it sure that techno legal requirements are duly complied with.

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