Sunday, January 8, 2012

Electronic Filing Of Consumer Complaints In India

The use of information and communication technology (ICT) for justice delivery system is well known. Even use of ICT for judicial and legal reforms in India is well understood. The role of ICT for effective judicial system in India is though well known yet very few efforts in this regard have been undertaken in India.

One can understand this position from the fact that till now we are still waiting for the establishment of first e-court in India. Even we have a single techno legal e-courts training and consultancy centre in India. Similarly, online dispute resolution in India is still a distant dream.

However, India cannot remain aloof for long in this regard. The information technology act, 2000 (IT Act 2000) already carries non enforceable e-governance provisions and with the proposed electronic delivery of services bill 2011 of India this e-governance mandate is going to be little bit more enforceable.

In fact, positive developments in this regard have already taking a shape in India. For instance, the financial limits of mobile banking transactions in India have been removed to give better options of banking in India. Similarly, SEBI is contemplating electronic initial public offer (EIPO) in India. Even Indian judiciary is exploring the possibility of using an electronic bail communication system in India. Through the proposed Cable TV Networks (Regulation) Second Amendment Bill 2011 of India, digital television services would be offered to consumers at affordable prices and with superior quality.

In a latest development in this direction, electronic filing of consumer complaints would be allowed if the proposed consumer protection (amendment) bill 2011 is made an enforceable law. The proposed amendment has made provision for making of a complaint by electronic form also to the District Forum.

This is a positive development and it would help in expanding consumer protection in India. However, there are many techno legal issues that must also be adhered to before e-filing of consumer complaints in India is made fully operational. But these issues would be sorted out with the passage of time.