Sri Lanka's IT related laws create confusion for business community
Maintaining documentation electronically via computer is not unusual in most developed countries due to its involvement of low cost, less storage space for storing and the availability of facilities to enter into contracts even without meeting or having a conversation with each other from different parts of the world.
However, the most important factor is having a uniform and a strict legal system to deal with computer crimes. This is considered to be equally important for any country to focus on.
Sri Lanka is a country poised to achieve a rapid economic growth and having a proper legal frame particularly in this area will facilitate e- governance concept and attract foreign direct investment into the country.
A top civil lawyer Sunil Abeyaratne emphasizes that absence of a uniform judicial procedure to deal with such cases relating to electronic transactions impede the promotion of e-commerce and to attracting foreign direct investments into Sri Lanka.
At present there is a conflicting situation between the Electronic Transaction Act and the Evidence (Special) Provisions Act. According to the Electronic Transaction Act, it does not spell out a proper procedure for courts to adopt when dealing with such a major issue, Abeyratne.
“It is quite visible that certain Courts adopt the provisions in the Evidence (Special) Provisions Act, while some courts adopt their procedure as they want. This has created confusion among the business community in the country," Abeyaratne said.
Under the current scenario the government should pay more attention on this area to introduce new legal provisions for the existing Electronic Transaction Act by taking from other developed countries experiences and laws, he said.
Countries such as UK, USA and Australia are adopting strong legal framework in this novel area and Sri Lanka too should follow on those advanced system s to deal with electronic data protection crimes, he said.
The Data Protection Act and Privacy Policies are also not strong enough in Sri Lanka and this would also adversely affect the development of electronic commerce and to attract direct foreign investments because certain provisions in the Computer Crime Act are not sufficient to deal with such cases , he said.
Abeyaratne said that ICTA is now in the process of implementing e-governance in the country, which still lacks strong laws.
It is always safe to have clear conditions agreed to by the parties to the contract specifying the way to confirm transactions, applicable law to the contract, and mode of payment and jurisdictions of courts under dispute resolution and so on, he added.
- Asian Tribune -