Saturday, January 21, 2012

Legal Actions Against Offending Foreign Websites In India

Websites based in foreign jurisdictions are engaging in various forms of illegal activities that are offences under Indian laws. For instance, they are openly violating intellectual property rights (IPRs) like copyright of Indian nationals. When these foreign websites are contacted to remove the offending contents, they simply ask you to follow foreign law procedures that are neither practical nor effective for an Indian national.

Take another example. A foreign website is openly hosting defamatory remarks as per Indian laws against you. You request the website to remove the same and the same are still not removed.

Another common example is hosting and publication of pornographic and obscene contents upon a platform or website. Even worst is the case when a morphed photograph of a female member of your family is posted on such platform. You contact the website to remove the same but they never listen to you.

Even worst case is the illegal sales of drugs and medicines online without a prescription slip. Many prohibited medicines are sold in countries through websites in clear disregard of local laws.

Another example may be of offering illegal sex determination tests through websites. Many countries of the world prohibit such testing and India is one of them.

These are some of the examples where day to day lives are affected by culpable conducts in an online environment. Many believe that no effective actions can be taken against such foreign websites in India. However, this is not true.

Under the cyber law of India, appropriate legal actions can be taken against such foreign websites if they have sufficient connection or nexus with Indian jurisdiction. Although an international cyber law treaty is required to being uniformity in legal frameworks yet till such time local laws of India and foreign laws can be invoked to get appropriate remedy.

Further, if nothing works, blocking of such offending websites in India can be undertaken. It would be wrong to suggest that such websites cannot be blocked in India by a court order or through an order of department of information technology, India.

India must formulate appropriate laws or regulations to make such offending foreign websites liable under Indian laws. Further, special regulations for their subsidiaries operating in India must be made so that they cannot do more business than as mentioned in such regulations. A sound tax framework for such subsidiaries must be formulated so that there cannot be any case of tax evasion and tax manipulations by such subsidiaries.