Will TRAI Regulate E-Commerce In India?

Will TRAI Regulate E-Commerce In IndiaE-commerce has really flourished in India but there is no dedicated e-commerce law in India till date. We at Perry4Law Organisation (P4LO) believe that e-commerce laws in India are urgently needed. We also recommended that India should regulate taxation, anti competitive practices and predatory pricing of Indian and foreign e-commerce websites. We have also discussed about cyber security issues of e-commerce business in India.

Meanwhile, United States is seeking trade rules at WTO for e-commerce and cloud computing. There are also some hints that foreign companies and e-commerce portals would be required to register in India and comply with Indian laws.

Many Indian stakeholders have raised objections about the way e-commerce websites are operating in India. These websites are providing deep discounts that have been labelled as predatory pricing by offline traders and businesses. Further, Myntra, Flipkart, Amazon, Uber, etc have already been questioned by the regulatory authorities of India for violating Indian laws.

A techno legal framework is long due and Indian Government has failed to provide the same so far. There is no doubt that e-commerce websites must be suitably regulated by Indian Government. However, the question is who would regulate and monitor e-commerce activities in India?

According to Business Standard, an inter-ministerial panel has requested the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) to take up the role of e-commerce regulator in India or suggest if there is a need for a separate regulator for e-commerce. At present, TRAI regulates telecommunications, media and broadcasting industries.

The inter-ministerial panel will prepare a paper on imposing restrictions on the location of servers and on getting companies like Google and Amazon to set up data centres in India. Similarly, Internet telephony and VOIP service providers are already under pressure to establish their servers in India. The telecom related trends and development in India 2014 by P4LO have also outlines server location related issues for India.

The panel has also sought an update from the consumer affairs ministry on measures taken to introduce online dispute resolution in e-commerce. P4LO has been recommending use of online dispute resolution (ODR) in India for long. ODR can be used for resolving corporate disputes, certain civil disputes, e-commerce disputes, cross border technology transactions disputes, cross border business disputes, etc.