India to consider e-mail as valid evidence

By SiliconIndia   |   Thursday, 28 August 2008, 11:49 Hrs
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New Delhi: Corporate Executives, those who rely on email for communication, can be more confident in using them. The government has drafted new company law. The law permits to recognize e-mail as a valid piece of evidence. However, the move would tighten the noose around the companies.

In India, under the jurisdiction, there is no specific recognition of e-mails as evidence. Officials pointed out that companies facing prosecution have often exploited this lack of clarity. The officials also point out that the basic ground work towards the move is almost ready with the inception of the ministry's e-governance project. The project named MCA-21 has enabled computerization of documents and records filed by companies.

Officials say that the new company law, expects to be placed in Parliament soon.

Till date, in India, companies facing prosecution have often exploited the lack of clarity on emails. The officials point out that the basic ground work towards the move is almost ready with the inception of the ministry's e-governance project. The project named MCA-21 has enabled computerization of documents and records filed by companies, reported the Economic Times.

It is also learnt that the government at various levels are trying to harmonize related legislations like Information Technology Act and Evidence Act on the subject, so as to avoid regulatory overlaps. Even as the company law awaits amendments to this effect, the Competition Commission of India (CCI) feels corporate e-mails could be crucial evidence in cartel investigations. The CCI recommends enterprises to maintain a check on electronic correspondence of its marketing personnel and distributing agents to ensure that they do not engage themselves in anti-competetive activities.

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