E-retailing laws and regulations in India are still evolving. Although we have no dedicated e-retailing laws in India yet some provisions in this regard can be found on the information technology act, 2000 (IT Act 2000).
There is no second opinion that e-retailing websites in India must be regulated by Indian government. In the absence of adequate and stringent laws, e-retailing websites frauds, offences and crimes in India have increased a lot. For instance, the e-retailing sites selling adult merchandise in India are openly violating the laws of India. Similarly, e-retailing websites in India are engaging in punishable soft porn publication and Indian government is sleeping over the matter.
This violation of Indian laws is not confined to online publication of obscene contents alone but other segments are also violating Indian laws. E-retailing websites dealing with online pharmacies, online gamming and gambling, online selling of adult merchandise, etc are openly and continuously violating the laws of India, including the cyber law of India. However, India government has yet to take action against these offending e-retailing websites of India.
Although e-retailing frauds in India have increased tremendously yet we have no effective e-retail dispute resolution in India. Recently, Apple was accused of providing pornographic contents on its app store. Similarly, online pharmacies websites of India are under regulatory scanner after suggestions of legal experts. The cyber litigation against foreign and Indian websites is going to increase in India and e-retailing websites would also be part of the same.
There are well recognised legal requirements to start an e-commerce website in India and the legal formalities required for starting e-commerce business in India. As on date, the e-commerce websites are not following such techno legal requirements. They are also not following the cyber law due diligence requirements of India and are liable for Internet intermediary liability in India.
It is high time for Indian government to regulate the affairs of e-retailing websites operating in India as soon as possible.