E-commerce no dedicated provision to deal with the

            E-commerce
Industry  in today’s scenario has become
one of the important area for the government to look upon, as India’s
e-commerce market has reached USD 20 billion as per the report of Internet and
Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) and up to 34% of the population is
accessible to the internet(1). Due to its vast impact and
utilization the e-commerce industry had a large impact on various industries in
the country especially the telecommunication and online trading industry. Thus
the government has to regulate and control the working of it in a systematic
manner, Although there are various laws such as, The Consumer Protection Act
1986(CPA), The Sale of Goods Act 1930, The Information Technology Act 2000(IT
Act) and The Indian Contract Act 1872 etc. to protect the rights of
e-consumers.

 Under the CPA, as per the definition of the
consumer, laid under Sec.2(1)(d) of the act where it defines the term consumer
as, ‘Any person who buys any goods or hires any service for a consideration
which has been paid or promised or partly paid or partly promised or under any
system of deferred payment'(2). Thus consideration which has been
paid or promised or partly paid or partly promised makes a person consumer
under CPA. Along with the definition of a consumer we can also refer to the
definitions of deficiency, service and trader. Interpreting the definitions we
get a see that in some sense we could relate e-consumerism to the act but there
is no dedicated provision to deal with the e-commerce industry. As the act does
not specifically speak about and define the term ‘e-consumer’, it is silent
about the court’s jurisdiction to try such matters. We also require a proper
regulatory mechanism for the online trading and transactions as the act does
not specify about digital transactions as such. There is always a high risk of
your personal data being leaked out as you jump through various websites. Thus
there is need for the introduction of this component into the act, and hence we
need an amendment to the present legislation regulating various aspects of
e-consumerism. 

Moving onto the Sale of
Goods Act 1930, which speaks about various concepts like, Contract of sale,
Formalities of a contract, Conditions and warranties and also various
definitions such as buyer, goods, delivery etc(3).But the act does
not specify about the aspects of what kind of 
information related to the goods to be sold are to be given to a
e-consumer as he is not going to examine the product personally and has to rely
on what details the e-retailer has provided. 
  

In the IT Act 2000 it
discusses about the electronic commerce and cybercrime, it recognizes
electronic records and digital signatures. It is first legislation to discuss
about electronic transactions and trading’s. But it does not narrows down and
speak specifically about the concept of e-consumerism.(4)

The Indian Contract Act
1872, is the legislation that we largely follow when it comes to e-commerce and
online trading because of which the liability of the manufacturer falls under
the contractual liability and not that of a buyer-seller relationship. We
generalize the idea of consumer when we include e-Consumerism under the act and
thus we need a specific legislation for regulating the aspect of e-consumerism.
By doing that we also provide a platform for the        e-consumers to report their cases directly to
the forum and not a civil suit in a sessions court.(5) Thus there is
bill pending in the Loksabha which introduces the concept of e-consumerism and
address various issues that we are currently facing with the present
legislations. The bill also introduces a special branch for the investigation
of the consumer cases.