Question 6 : “E-Governance facilitates an efficient speedy and transparent government processes.”

Question 6 : “E-Governance facilitates an efficient speedy and transparent government processes.” Comment and explain the provisions relating to E-Governance under the Information Technology Act, 2000. Also discuss the functions of private and public keys?

Answer :  

In the IT Act, 2000, there are special provisions under Chapter III to grant legal recognition to electronic records, signature, and also encourage the government and its agencies to use them.

Provisions for e-governance under the IT Act, 2000

These are the provisions under the IT Act, 2000 in the context of e-governance:

1. Legal Recognition of Electronic Records (Section 4)

Let’s say that a certain law requires a matter written, typewritten, or printed. Even in the case of such a law, the requirement is satisfied if the information is rendered or made available in an electronic form and also accessible for subsequent reference. Browse more Topics under Cyber Laws

Introduction to Cyberspace  Cyber Appellate Tribunal Digital SignatureRegulation of Certifying Authorities Classification and Provision of Cyber Crimes

Scope of Cyber Laws Information Technology Act, 2000

2. Legal recognition of digital signatures (Section 5)

Let’s say that the law requires a person’s signature to authenticate some information or a document. Notwithstanding anything contained in such law, if the person authenticates it with a digital signature in a manner that the Central Government prescribes, then he satisfies the requirement of the law.

For the purpose of understanding this, signature means a person affixing his handwritten signature or a similar mark on the document.

3. Use of electronic records and digital signatures in Government and its agencies (Section 6)

(1) If any law provides for –

the filing of a form, application, or any document with any Government-owned or controlled office, agency, body, or authority

the grant or issue of any license, sanction, permit or approval in a particular manner

also, the receipt or payment of money in a certain way

Then, notwithstanding anything contained in any other law in force such as filing, grant, issue, payment, or receipt is satisfied even if the person does it in an electronic form. The person needs to ensure that he follows the Government-approved format.

(2) With respect to the sub-section (1), may prescribe:

the format and manner of filing, creating or issuing such electronic records

also, the manner and method of payment of any fees or charges for filing, creating or issuing any such records

4. Retention of electronic records (Section 7)

(1) Let’s say that the law requires the retention of certain records, documents or information for a specific period. In such cases, the requirement is also satisfied if the retention is in an electronic form, provided:

the information contained therein is accessible and also usable for a subsequent reference.

the format of the electronic record is the same as the one originally created, received or sent. Even if the format is changed, then it must accurately represent the original information.

the electronic record contains details to facilitate the identification of the origin, destination, and also the date and time of the dispatch or receipt of the record.

This is provided that the clause does not apply to any information which is automatically generated primarily for the purpose of enabling an electronic record for dispatch or receipt.

(2) Nothing in this section applies to any law which expressly provides for the retention of records, documents or information electronically.

5. Publication of rules, regulations, etc., in Electronic Gazette (Section 8)

Let’s say that law requires the publishing of official regulation, rule, by-law, notification or any other matter in the Official Gazette. In such cases, the requirement is also satisfied if such rule, regulation, order, bye-law, notification or any other matter is published in the Official Gazette or Electronic Gazette.

However, the date of publication of the rule, regulation, by-law, notification or any other matter is the date of the Gazette first published in any form – Official or Electronic.

6. Section 6,7 and 8 do not confer a right to insist document should be accepted in Electronic form (Section 9)

It is important to note that, nothing contained in Sections 6, 7, and 8 confer a right upon any person to insist either the acceptance, issuance, creation or also retention of any document or a monetary transaction in the electronic form from:

Ministry or Department of the Central/State Government

Also, any authority or body established under any law by the State/Central Government

7. Power to make rules by Central Government in respect of digital signature (Section 10)

The IT Act, 2000 empowers the Central Government to prescribe:

Type of digital signature

Also, the manner and format of affixing the digital signature

Procedures which facilitate the identification of the person affixing the digital signature

Control processes and procedures to ensure the integrity, security, and confidentiality of electronic payments or records

Further, any other matter which is legally important for digital signatures.

"private key" means the key of a key pair used to create a digital signature;

( "public key" means the key of a key pair used to verify a digital signature and listed in the Digital Signature Certificate;

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