TK Viswanathan committee Current Affairs
An expert committee headed by former Lok Sabha secretary general TK Viswanathan to deal with cybercrimes especially online hate speech has submitted its report to Union Home Ministry.
The committee was formed after Supreme Court struck down Section 66 A of the Information Technology (IT) Act, 2000 in Shreya Singhal vs. Union of India. Section 66 A of IT Act was added to criminalize sending of offensive messages through a computer or other communication devices.
The committee has recommended appointing cybercrime coordinators in all states and establishing cybercrime cells in each district. They will deal with those fomenting trouble or spreading hate against anybody on rounds of religion, race, caste or community, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, language, place of birth or residence, disability or tribe through any means of communication.
It has suggested replacing some clauses of the IT Act, 2000 and amending some sections of IPC like 153 (want only giving provocation with intent to cause riot) and 505A (false and mischievous reports intended to upset public tranquillity) to deal with online hate crimes.
It has recommended punishment under amended clause dealing with prohibiting incitement to hatred of two years imprisonment or fine of Rs 5,000 or both. It has suggested that offences under amended Section 505A be punishable with imprisonment of up to one year or fine or Rs 5,000 or both.
The committee suggested that state cybercrime coordinator should be an officer not below the rank of Inspector General of Police (IGP). The district cybercrime cell should be headed by an officer not below the rank of sub-inspector of police.
The Union Home Ministry had constituted committee under chairmanship of former Law Secretary TK Viswanathan to assist government in establishing effective legal framework to deal with cybercrimes related to hate speech on internet. It was having members from Law Ministry, CBI and Ministry of Home Affairs.
It was tasked to study and examine existing domestic cyber laws and international cyber legislations and propose measures, amendments to present laws. It was also mandated to recommend amendments to Information Technology Act, 2000 and corresponding provisions in IPC, CrPC and Evidence Act to facilitate establishment of strong legal framework to fight cybercrimes. It was also mandated to draw a roadmap taking into account the need of legal competence and expertise on cyber laws from investigation, prosecution and judiciary angles.
Market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has set up a committee on ‘fair market conduct’. It will be headed former law secretary T K Viswanathan.
The committee will suggest measures for improving surveillance of the markets and strengthen rules for algorithm trades, among other norms.
Its members include representatives from law firms, mutual funds, retail and institutional brokers, forensic auditing firms, foreign portfolio investors, stock exchanges, chambers of commerce, data analytics companies and the markets regulator.
The securities market environment is dynamic, so there is need for periodic review of regulations and surveillance mechanisms in order to effectively discharge the objectives of SEBI.
Terms and Reference of Committee
The committee will suggest measures for improvement in PFTUP (Prohibition of Fraudulent and Unfair Trade Practices) regulations, PIT (Prohibition of Insider Trading) norms and norms mainly related to ‘trading plans’ and handling of ‘unpublished price sensitive information’ during takeovers.
It will suggest short term and medium term measures for improved surveillance of the markets as well as issues of high frequency trades, harnessing of technology and analytics in surveillance. It will suggest evidentiary issues in anti-fraud enforcement. It will be also responsible for recommending steps to align insider trading regulations with Companies Act provisions.
About Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI)
SEBI is the statutory regulator for the securities market in India established in 1988. It was given statutory powers through the SEBI Act, 1992. Its mandate is to protect the interests of investors in securities, promote the development of securities market and to regulate the securities market.
SEBI is responsive to needs of three groups, which constitute the market, issuers of securities, investors and market intermediaries. It has three functions quasi-legislative (drafts regulations in its legislative capacity), quasi-judicial (passes rulings and orders in its judicial capacity) and quasi-executive (conducts investigation and enforcement action in its executive function).