Under the IT Act, state IT secretary is the adjudicating officer, to adjudicate matters in respect of contraventions, like online frauds and order compensation of up to Rs1 crore to the complainant
Maharashtra's principal secretary for Information Technology (IT) department, Rakesh Aggarwal, in a recent case, directed six banks, one mobile operator and a card company to pay Rs1.06 crore compensation to victims of online frauds who have been duped over past two years.
According to a report in The Times of India, the order for compensation was issued by the state government's equivalent of a Cyber Crime Court, which is presided over by the principal secretary in charge of information technology. "The principle secretary, Rakesh Aggarwal, functions as adjudication officer under Section 45 of the IT Act 2000. The banks that have been ordered to pay compensation include Central Bank of India, Royal Bank of Scotland, Punjab National Bank, IndusInd Bank, Yes Bank, State Bank of India. Other institutions who have been directed to pay are Vodafone and SBI Cards," the report says.
Customers duped in online frauds often find that there is no easy remedy available. This is despite, the Banking Codes and Standards Board of India (BCSBI) making it clear that in electronic fraud, the onus of proving that the customer participated in the fraud or compromised the user ID and password will shift to the bank.
Even the Damodaran Committee on Customer Services in Bank, in 2011, had recommended the same changes. Dr KC Chakrabarty, the then deputy governor of Reserve Bank of India (RBI), too had emphatically said that banks cannot push the burden of proof on the customer and, if they could not find suitable insurance cover to mitigate their risk, they may want to reconsider offering Internet banking at all.
With the historic ruling of the Cyber Crime Court, it now becomes important for everyone who is duped in online fraud to know about the Court and its jurisdiction.
What is the Cyber Crime Court?
The Information Technology Act, 2000, specifies the acts, which are punishable under the Act. Under the Act, the State IT Secretary is the adjudicating officer, to adjudicate matters in respect of contraventions to the Chapter IX of the IT Act (http://www.deity.gov.in/sites/upload_files/dit/files/downloads/itact2000/itbill2000.pdf ) and the matter or matters or places or area/areas in the State in which claim for injury or damage does not exceed Rs5 crore.
The Adjudicating Officer has the powers of Civil Court, which are conferred on the Cyber Appellate Tribunal under sub-section(2) of the section 58. In addition, all proceedings before the Adjudicating Officer are deemed to be judicial proceedings within the meaning of sections 193 and 228 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and to be a civil court for the purposes of sections 345 and 346 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (Cr PC), 1973.
Chapter IX (43) defines, online frauds and compensation as: "If any person without permission of the owner or any other person who is in-charge of a computer, computer system or computer network, charges the services availed of by a person to the account of another person by tampering with or manipulating any computer, computer system, or computer network, he shall be liable to pay damages by way of compensation not exceeding Rs1 crore to the person so affected."
How to file a complaint for adjudication under IT Act
There is a specified format for filing complaint before the Adjudicating Officer under the IT Act. In addition, the complainant has to pay application fee of Rs50 and applicable fee based on amount of compensation.
The fee towards damages claimed by way of compensation from the contraveners, needs to be paid by a bank draft drawn in favour of "Adjudicating Officer Information Technology Act".
Here is how the fee is calculated based on compensation sought…
Where to submit the complaint?
For Maharashtra, the complainant has to submit his complaint to...
c/o Directorate of Information Technology,
7th Floor, Mantralaya,
Madam Cama Road,
Hutatma Rajguru Chowk,
Nariman Point, Mumbai – 400021
Since the IT Act is a central Act, all states do have similar kind of arrangement and complainant can file a complaint before the Adjudicating Officer or the Cyber Crime Court in her respective state.