Information Technology Act Current Affairs - 2020

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GoI halts online drug sales

The Government of India has halted online sales of drugs as it is working on framing rules to regulate the sector. This has hit the pharmacy sector greatly.

Delhi High Court’s Order

The order of sale prohibition was initiated by the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) V.G.Somani. The order has referred to the Delhi High Court judgement pronounced in response to the case filed by Dermatologist Dr Zaheer Ahmed. Delhi High Court order says that the sales of medicines online are in violation of Drugs and Cosmetics act. Therefore, GoI is framing strict guidelines for E-pharmacies.

E-Pharmacy rules

The E-Pharmacy rules are still at draft stage. The draft includes registration of e-pharmacies, protection of privacy of customers, measures to counterfeit unauthorized sales, drugs and expired products. It also includes periodic inspection as referred by the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985, verification of registered pharmacists, details of patients and drugs on E-pharmacy portal.

E-Pharmacies claim that their business comply to Information Technology Act, 2000.

Current Market Scenario of E-pharmacy in India

In the present day, retail stores contribute to 99% of medicines sales with E-pharmacy contributing to only 1% of total medicine sales. In February 2019, the DPIIT (Department of Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade) published Draft National E-commerce policy. It includes E-pharmacy guidelines as well. As the industry has a billion-dollar potential, it is important to frame strict guidelines.

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Twitter Executives may face Jail and Penalties if failed to Act

The government has warned twitter activists of 7-year jail term and financial penalties if failed to act to remove content and accounts that are ‘objectionable and inflammatory.

The government has asked Twitter authorities to comply with the provisions under the Indian Information Technology Act or else it would face action under Section 69A of the Information Technology Act.

Section 69A of the Information Technology Act

Section 69A of the Information Technology Act empowers central government to:

  • Issue directions to block the content on online platforms in the interest of sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of the State, friendly relations with foreign States or public order or for preventing incitement to the commission of any cognizable offence.
  • Intermediaries failing to comply with the direction issued could be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to seven years and shall also be liable to fine.

As India is heading towards Lok Sabha polls, the social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook and WhatsApp have been directed to ensure the platforms are not used to undermine or influence the electoral process.

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