Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Online Pharmacies In India Under Scrutiny

Online pharmacies in India are operating in an unregulated manner for long. This has created a serious risk environment for many individuals who prefer to purchase a medicine from an online pharmacy. There is nothing wrong in purchasing a medicine from an online pharmacy provided the pharmacy is legitimate and is in compliance with all the applicable laws pertaining to healthcare.

Internet is full of illegal and unregulated online pharmacy websites. These websites are real health hazard but these websites are also very difficult to regulate as they operate from jurisdictions with low prosecution rates. India is one such jurisdiction that is high on tolerance of illegal online pharmacies. Healthcare technology law and regulations in India need to be strictly enforced in India.

In India we have set laws for opening an online pharmacy store in India. Even the Ayurvedic and Nutraceuticals e-businesses are required to comply with Indian laws to operate legally. Health, food and medicine related legal compliances in India have become really stringent. A good compilation of food, health, cosmetics, drugs, medicines and nutraceutical laws, rules and regulations in India has been provided by New Delhi based law firm Perry4Law.

However, online pharmacies in India are not at all complying with the legal requirements pertaining to their operation in India. Rather they are actively violating the laws of India in this regard. Illegal and unregulated online sale of prescribed medicines in India is still happening despite the threat of the Directorate of Drugs Control of India to punish such illegal pharmacies.

Recently, United States shut down 1677 illegal online pharmacies websites that were not in compliance with US laws. Illegal online pharmacies are also on hit list of Google and federal authorities of US. Even in India some developments have taken place in the direction of curbing illegal online pharmacies. The Maharashtra FDA has approached DCGI for regulating illegal online pharmacies operating in India. Similarly, the Hyderabad drug authorities are also keen on regulating illegal sale of drugs through online mechanism.

Although these are good developments yet they are too insignificant to make any potential impact upon the flourishing illegal online pharmacy industry of India. The websites pertaining to Ayurvedic and Nutraceuticals have further complicated the scenario. It is high time for Indian government to take strict penal action against illegal online pharmacy, Ayurveda and Nutraceutical websites as soon as possible.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Regulatory Compliances Under Indian Companies Act 2013 In Pipeline

The corporate environment of India all set for a big change that has brought tremendous regulatory obligations on the part of Indian companies. The hints of such change were obvious even before the recent notifications under the Indian Companies Act, 2013 (PDF) by the Ministry of corporate Affairs (MCA).

MCA has recently notified 183 sections under the Companies Act, 2013 and rules for 11 chapters under the Act. A complete list of all these notifications and the potential techno legal compliances that Indian companies may be required to follow from 01-04-2014 is available here. The same has been provided by New Delhi based corporate and ICT law firm Perry4Law.

According to Perry4Law, MCA has notified Rules for 11 chapters of the Companies Act, 2013. These include Rules for specifications and definitions, incorporation of companies, prospectus and allotment of securities, shares and debentures, registration of charges, management and administration, declaration and payment of dividend, accounts, appointment and qualification of directors, board meetings and powers, and corporate social responsibility.

As these Sections and Rules would become operational from 1st April 2014 there would be lots of regulatory compliance issues that would be involved. Similarly, it is not easy to migrate from the 1956 Act to the 2013 Act so easily. The times have changed especially due to the techno legal requirements that Indian companies cannot ignored anymore. These include cyber law due diligence (PDF) and cyber security due diligence, opined Perry4Law.

It would be in the best interest of all Indian companies to manage their regulatory issues as soon as possible. Further, it would take considerable time before the true implications of the Indian Companies Act, 2013 and the corresponding rules thereunder would be understood by the companies. Early starters would definitely be at advantageous position.

Online Pharmacies Are Operating Unregulated In India

Online businesses and e-commerce are on rise in India. Everybody is of the opinion that e-business is the upcoming field that can fetch a handsome profit to the entrepreneurs who start the same. Various e-commerce and e-business ventures have been launched by Indian entrepreneurs in the year 2103 and most of them already closed their shops. The reason for the closure of these e-businesses is that an idea without appropriate implementation would be ineffective.

Another related problem pertains to failure to comply with the laws of India while indulging in e-commerce and e-businesses. For instance, we have set laws for opening an online pharmacy store in India. Even the Ayurvedic and Nutraceuticals e-businesses are required to comply with Indian laws to operate legally. Health, food and medicine related legal compliances in India have become really stringent. A good compilation of food, health, cosmetics, drugs, medicines and nutraceutical laws, rules and regulations in India has been provided by New Delhi based law firm Perry4Law.

However, online pharmacies in India are not at all complying with the legal requirements pertaining to their operation in India. Rather they are actively violating the laws of India in this regard. Illegal and unregulated online sale of prescribed medicines in India is still happening despite the threat of the Directorate of Drugs Control of India to punish such illegal pharmacies.

According to Perry4Law online sale of prescribed drugs and medicines in India is a very controversial area. Most of the online pharmacy stores in India are unable to comply with the requirements of Indian laws. There are many techno legal requirements pertaining to privacy, data protection (PDF), encryption, cyber law due diligence (PDF), Internet intermediary obligations, cloud computing, etc that are required to be complied with by online pharmacy stores operating in India.

Mobile health related laws and regulations in India have added another dimension to these complicated legal norms. If a medical device is also sold by these online pharmacies that intend to serve a health/medical purpose, the mobile health and telemedicine related legal issues would also arise.

The regulatory and legislative measures to check online pharmacies trading in banned drugs in India are also in pipeline. The digital communication channels for drugs and healthcare products in India are also subject to numerous regulatory compliances. All these issues require implementation of techno legal measures on the part of Indian government, opines Perry4Law.

It is for the Indian government to encourage law abiding online pharmacies and punish stringently the illegal pharmacies of India so that the menace of counterfeiting and illegal drugs and medicines can be curbed.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

E-Discovery Legal Issues Are Still Ignored In India

Electronic discovery or e-discovery in India is a field that is still not pursued by many law firms in India. There are only handfuls of law firms that can provide e-discovery services in India. Further, there only one or two cyber law firms in India that have been providing legal services in this field.

The main reason for absence of lawyers and law firms in the field of e-discovery is lack of techno legal expertise in this regard. Perry4Law is the exclusive techno legal e-discovery and cyber forensics law firm of Asia that has been providing e-discovery and cyber forensics services to both national and international clients. Perry4Law is also managing exclusive techno legal e-discovery blogs in India and providing exclusive techno legal e-discovery legal services in India and foreign jurisdictions.

The scope of legal e-discovery services in India has increased tremendously in the past few years. In fact, e-discovery and cyber law due diligence has become mandatory for required for Indian companies and Indian companies cannot ignore them anymore. For instance, the cyber security breaches in India would raise crucial cyber law and cyber security issues in the near future and they cannot be simply ignored as cyber incidences anymore. This is so because many techno legal obligations have been attached with such cyber incidences in India.

Take the example of Target Corporation that faced cyber attacks and data breach recently. For reasons best known to Target, it failed to take remedial action in this regard. Now target is facing litigation threats around the world and it may be prosecuted in India as well very soon for failing to comply with techno legal requirements of applicable Indian laws.

The cyber forensics trends and developments in India 2013 by Perry4Law and Perry4Law’s Techno Legal Base (PTLB) have proved that India has failed on the fronts of e-discovery and cyber forensics. The law enforcement and revenue authorities of India have not taken aid of e-discovery and cyber forensics in their investigations so far.

For instance, Enforcement Directorate (ED) of India could have used e-discovery and cyber forensics methods to detect possible legal violations by Bitcoin websites. The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has already committed the cyber forensics blunder in Aarushi’s murder case trial. The IPL match fixing case may also be jeoparadised due to lack of use of cyber forensics best practices. The forensics analysis of Nokia’s computer used to download software in India has still not been done till date. The HDFC bank was also required to follow sound e-discovery and cyber forensics procedure to avoid legal liability. Unfortunately, none of these events have actually taken place in India as e-discovery and cyber forensics have been neglected in all these cases.

All these negative developments clearly indicate that e-discovery and cyber forensics best practices are required to be adopted by various national and international companies operating in India. However, in the absence of various techno legal compliance on the part of Indian and foreign companies operating in India, there is an urgent need to formulate effective and robust techno legal e-discovery and cyber forensics regulatory regimes for India. There is also no doubt that India needs to strengthen cyber forensics and cyber crimes investigation capabilities that are in bad shape as on date.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Online Cyber Security Courses In India Need To Be Encouraged

Cyber security of any nation is dependent upon its skilled cyber force. India has exceptionally good information technology related talent but when it comes to cyber security professionals, India is still lagging far behind than other countries. This is primarily due to defective cyber security and education policies of India and the poor implementation of already scant policies in this crucial field.

India has also not encouraged private institutions and educational institutions to take a lead in the cyber security education and skills development field. On top of it, the students are still not sure whether they need skills or degree while pursuing cyber security education in India. A dominant majority of the students that graduate from even premier technical education institutions are not fit to be absorbed by the industry as they may have the degree but they lack the essential skills needed for the industry. Something is gravely missing at the national education policy level in India.

Recently India released the cyber security policy but the same must be integrated into and part of the national security policy of India opines Praveen Dalal the leading techno legal expert of Asia. Presently this is not happening and we have cyber security initiatives in India that are not operating in harmony and coordination with each other. These policy deficiencies, along with defective education policy of India, have also affected the cyber skills development initiatives of India and this is the reason why we do not have a well organised and properly managed online cyber skills development initiative in India, informs Dalal.

Due to these shortcomings cyber security in India is still maturing where both the legal framework and government policies are trying to accommodate the growing requirements of cyber security. We have very few cyber security research and education centre in India as on date that are tirelessly trying to bridge the cyber security skills gap in India.  

With growing emphasis upon distance learning and e-learning, online cyber security courses in India have attracted much attention. Perry4Law’s Techno Legal Base (PTLB) is the premier institution of India that is providing online cyber security courses in India and online cyber security trainings in India. In fact, the exclusive techno legal cyber security e-learning portal in India is also managed by PTLB.

However, lack of political will and defective educational policies of India are not allowing Indian educational and skill development initiatives to flourish and make major difference. Even the efforts of national skills development corporation (NSDC) have failed to make much difference in this field.

Recently the Supreme Court of India debarred the AICTE from regulating technical educational institutions in India. The Indian government is finalising new norms that will empower universities to regulate around 10,000 institutes in the country. Under the new regulations, all technical institutes need to be affiliated to UGC-recognised universities. The Union Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry is also planning to introduce amendments in the existing laws to restore the powers of AICTE and reverse the judgment of Supreme Court. It seems our HRD Ministry and Indian government has wandered much beyond the turf of skills and capabilities development and is flexing their muscles more on the side of power tussle in the education field than doing the needful.   

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Is It Legal To Play Online Poker In India?

Information technology is seen as an enabler by business community of India. As the use of IT in India is increasing, entrepreneurs have started exploring the cyberspace to establish new ventures like e-commerce, Bitcoins exchanges, online poker websites, etc. All this is happening without a clear cut legal framework as we have no dedicated online gaming and gambling laws and regulations in India and this field is still evolving. Although the traditional gambling in India is governed by colonial laws yet we have no dedicated laws for online gambling in India.

Similarly, there are no dedicated laws and regulations for online poker in India as on date. Further, there are no specific judicial decisions pertaining to playing of online poker in India. Both players of pokers and websites hosting the poker games are in a fix to decide whether to play and host the poker game on a website in India. Till date the position of playing online poker in India is a grey area.

Since the area is developing there are very few cyber law firms and cyber lawyers in India who can provide effective legal support and services in this regard. The Information Technology Act, 2000 is the sole cyber law of India and very few law firms and lawyers are practicing in this novel field. Even among those practicing the cyber law field, there are only handful of lawyers who can take up the matter pertaining to online gaming and gambling in India.

Online gambling laws in India are different that online gaming laws of India. Further, online gambling and gaming laws and regulations in India and conflict principles must also be kept in mind by online poker websites of India.

According to Perry4Law, the exclusive techno legal ICT law firm of India, to start with, any online poker website of India that wishes to engage in legal business must comply with Indian laws like Indian Penal Code, 1860, Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, Indian Information Technology Act, 2000, the Public Gambling Act, 1867, Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) 1999, etc

Taxation, money laundering and payment gateways issues must also be taken care of by those proposing to open online poker websites in India. Further, various guidelines and rules issued from time to time must also be complied with by online poker websites of India opines Perry4Law.

The crux of the legal position seems to be that if an online poker website is following the laws of India while operating in India, it is legal to play online poker in India. However, if the laws of India are breached during such online presence both the cyber law of India and other applicable state laws may be attracted.

Online gaming industry is booming in India and it is going to be a multi billion dollar industry in India.  In order to capture this market the online poker entrepreneurs must comply with all the applicable laws of India and consult some good techno legal firm before launching their websites.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Bitcoins Legal Issues Vexing Bitcoin Community Of India

E-commerce is a very lucrative field. But it is also full of legal compliances that must be strictly adhered to. Most of the e-commerce entrepreneurs in India fail to comply with e-commerce laws and regulations of India. Now Bitcoins legal issues are vexing Bitcoin community of India. In fact, Indian Laxmicoin has sought clarifications from regulatory authorities before its launch.  

Example of e-commerce entrepreneurs failing to comply with Indian laws pertain to online pharmacies, online gambling, online adult accessories, online stores, etc. The latest to add to this list is the dealings of Bitcoins in India. Naturally, Bitcoins legal issues are increasing in India.

One of the most prominent questions that is making rounds in the Indian e-commerce entrepreneurs is are Bitcoins legal in India? This legal uncertainty among Bitcoin community of India is increasing day by day. More and more legal violations are being reported these days. In the past there have been many media reports of the usage of Bitcoins for illicit and illegal activities in several jurisdictions. Now it has been reported that some Indian tea traders violated Indian laws by engaging in illegal Bitcoin transactions.

Various operators are expecting clear regulatory clarifications that virtual currencies are not illegal per se but according to Perry4Law, the leading techno legal ICT law firm of Asia, Bitcoins website owners and entrepreneurs must comply with Indian laws to stay legal. The virtual currencies are saddled with number of significant financial, cyber security and legal risks at the moment. The research paper titled Cyber Law Due Diligence in India and E-Commerce Businesses (PDF) issued by Perry4Law has aptly described the cyber law due diligence requirements that Bitcoin websites in India are required to follow.

Bitcoins websites are already under regulatory scanner of Enforcement Directorate (ED). In fact, Seven Digital Cash LLP is already facing legal risks for dealing in Bitcoins in India. More details would be available only once ED completes its investigation in this regard. ED believes that Bitcoins money can be used for hawala transactions and funding terror operations and this seems to be a legally plausible explanation as well.

Meanwhile the Bitcoin community of India is planning to analyse legal framework surrounding Bitcoins in India. From their initial encounter with the Indian laws they have realised that Bitcoins business cannot be done in India without regulatory risks. They have also sounded an alarm of caution that Bitcoin community of India must comply with Indian laws before dealing in Bitcoins in India.

However, a bare perusal of the websites of various Bitcoin providers in India shows that they have clearly failed to consider Indian laws. For instance, The Information Technology Act 2000, which is the cyber law of India, prescribes cyber law due diligence and the Internet intermediary liability in India. These cyber laws due diligence and Internet Intermediary requirements squarely apply to websites dealing, selling and transferring Bitcoins in India. But these websites are not following the same and these lacunas are allowing ED and other regulatory authorities of India to corner Bitcoin websites and their owners.

It would be a prudent act on the part of Bitcoin community to consider all the applicable laws of India and duly follow the same while dealing in Bitcoins. Needless to say the same must be done before launching any new Bitcoin websites in India and the existing one must also fall in line as soon as possible.