-By A S L Narasimha Rao
The advancement in information technology have resulted in the expansion of scope and domains of law from long-established realms of criminal and civil laws to other areas
Cyber law is the area of law that deals with the Internet’s relationship to technological and electronic elements, including computers, software, hardware and information systems (IS). Its core objective is to prevent or to minimise large scale damage from cybercriminal activities such as cyber terrorism, IPR violations, Credit card frauds, EFT frauds, and pornography.
It will ensure protection of information access, privacy, communications, intellectual property (IP) and freedom of speech related to the use of the Internet, websites, email, computers, cell phones, software and hardware, including data storage devices.
Of late, the rise in Internet traffic has led to a lot of legal issues worldwide. As cyber laws vary by jurisdiction and country, its enforcement is challenging. For Internet governance, Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), a not-for-profit organisation with world-wide presence, was established in 1998. ICANN’s mission is to help keep the internet secure, stable and interoperable, but it has no control over the content and doesn’t deal with access to the internet.
The Internet Governance Forum (IGF), a global body concerned with issues of public Internet policy and is convened by the UN General Secretary.
In India, the cyber crimes are addressed by the Information Technology Act, 2000. The laws were initially framed to provide legal recognition to electronic commerce and to facilitate filing of electronic records with the Government.
But as time moves on Internet has became more transactional with e-business, e-commerce, e-governance and e-procurement, etc. All legal issues related to internet crime are dealt with through cyber laws. As the number of internet users is on the rise, the need for more stringent and comprehensive cyber laws and their application has also gathered great momentum in India.
The cyber criminals now-a-days are acting beyond the boundaries, which becomes even more difficult for countries without duly signed extradition treaties or multilateral cooperation arrangements, as trial of such offences and conviction is a difficult proposition.
Moreover, the Indian Penal Code (IPC) was enacted before the emergence of Internet; therefore it is imperative to have more pertinent and tangible cyber laws to suit the modern legal issues.
The Information Technology has pierced in to every sphere of life and the profession of law, being no exception it. The cyber law study can help IT and other professionals like CIO, CISO, CISA, CISSP, CA, and CS to provide better services with know how about the legal aspect of the issues relating to e-businesses as consultant, advisors to medium and large-scale organisations.
The exponential growth of electronic devices and cyber crimes in the country are driving forces which will raise the need to have more cyber lawyers who can cater to the issues of digital evidence admissibility, data breaches and cyber crimes.
Space law is body of laws agreements and treaties that govern outer space. It is much like general international law, which comprises a variety of international conventions, and United Nations General Assembly resolutions, as well as rules and regulations of international organisations.
The UN treaties included Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies, 1967, Agreement on the Rescue of Astronauts, the Return of Astronauts and the Return of Objects Launched into Outer Space, 1968, Convention on International Liability for Damage Caused by Space Objects, 1972, Convention on Registration of Objects Launched into Outer Space, 1976, and Agreement Governing the Activities of States on the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies, 1984.
India is a party to all the above space treaties which consecutively structure the most important body of the international space law. It is also participating actively in a variety of international forum like United Nations Committee on Peaceful uses of Outer Spaces (UNCOPUS), International Council of Scientific Unions (ICSU), International Astronautical Federation (IAF), etc. in shaping global space and law policy.
In spite of being an active member to all these treaties, India still has got no comprehensive legislation on space and space related matters. The country as a space superpower stands mightier than ever, but a law that protects the country’s sovereign, public and commercial interests is needed.
The allocation of limited space in space is already an area of international friction. A fixed number of spots are currently available for satellites that are in geostationary orbit. Many countries on the equator believe that they have the right to control the space above their countries. As more countries want to launch geostationary satellites, conflicts are likely to continue. The role of the space lawyers should figure out how to resolve these conflicts as they grapple with the ethical questions that govern who should have top priority.
Corporate law also known as business law, enterprise law, or company law, is body of law governing the rights, relations, and conduct of persons, companies, organisations and businesses.
The growth of electronic commerce has prompted to volte-face the legal practice relating to, or the theory of corporations. Corporate lawyers in India are tasked with safeguarding the legality of commercial transactions, representing corporations and advising corporate employees on their legal duties and responsibilities. The corporate law deals with tax law, bankruptcy, intellectual property, zoning or securities. Most corporate lawyers work for a corporation, but some are self-employed or work for a law firm. Some law school graduates become educators, investment bankers or leaders of non-profit organisations.
In India, a lot of law colleges offer corporate law as a specialization. The corporate law allows one to either join a law firm, partnership firms, or the legal department of corporate houses, wherein one would be required to draft agreements for mergers and acquisitions.
Advocates in India Outshine Judges in Remuneration
When it comes to remuneration part of the Indian judicial system, the salaries and other maintenance expenses of the judges of Supreme Court, and high courts, will come from consolidated fund of India, consolidated fund of state, contingency fund, and public account.
A judge of the Supreme Court draws a salary of ₹250,000 ($3,500) per month, while the Chief Justice of India (CJI) earns ₹280,000 ($3,900) per month, after the recent hike in January 2018. The high court judges get a salary of ₹2.25 Lakh per month.
The advocates in India are self-employed, and therefore they are not controlled and monitored by any constitutional authority, except a bar council, which can only give guidelines and directions for good conduct. Some of the famous and senior Supreme Court advocates charge exorbitant fee, and some of them even charge their clients on hourly basis, and earn up to ₹50 Lakh in a day. The assets of some of the senior advocates are mindboggling.
Contrary to this some of the judges, despite their long stints as HC and SC judges, have paltry personal wealth. The present CJI Ranjan Gogoi, and his predecessor, Dipak Misra do not have any personal vehicles. Both of them do not have any impressive personal wealth and gold jewellery either. The present CJI, Gogoi does not own a flat, or building, nor has a loan to his name.
Even though, there are no rules that compel Supreme Court judges to declare their assets. The apex court mandated the disclosure of judges’ assets to the Chief Justice during a full court meeting in May 1997, and it was again reaffirmed in 2009. After the full court resolution in 2009, judges of the Kerala High Court were the first to declare their assets in public. Judges of the Delhi, Bombay, Punjab and Haryana, and Madras High Courts followed soon after.
However, there are some stray instances of some Judges involved in amassing personal wealth, who were subjected to impeachment motion against them in Parliament, including Justices V Ramaswamy, P D Dinakaran, Soumitra Sen, J B Pardiwala, and C V Nagarjuna Reddy. But so far no judge of a Supreme Court and high courts has been impeached so far.
Why Do Lawyers Wear Black Robe?
Lawyers are considered as one of the best-dressed professionals. In most of the countries, the dress code for lawyers is white and black.
The black and white dress that the lawyers wear originally derived from England way back in the 17th century. It is not chosen randomly, in fact there is an interesting logic behind the black and white colour code for the lawyers. King Charles II died in February 1685, and people began wearing a black and white gown to offer to mourn his death. From that time this uniform for lawyers is designed.
Choosing a black colour for lawyer’s uniform has two more interesting reasons, firstly, in the old times, there was no availability of dyes in the large quantity, and purple colour was signified to royalty, so the only fabric colour left was black, and secondly black is considered as a colour of authority and dominance.
Dissenting voices for black robe in India
As per Advocate’s Act 1961, it is mandatory for advocates in India appearing in the Supreme Court. High courts, subordinate courts, tribunals or authorities to wear a dress that is sober and dignified.
In India, the advocates not just wear a black coat and a white shirt but a small neck band, which makes them recognisable. The white neck band on the layer’s shirt also has its origin in England.
The black robe is a relic of the Raj and lawyers in India over the years have been asking to ban it as it does not suit Indian conditions.
Dr Vincent Panikulangara, a High Court lawyer, filed a petition in the Kerala High Court, seeking a change in the dress code of lawyers on climatic grounds. He said in Kerala alone, around 20,000 lawyers practised in non-air-conditioned courts, and their miseries further worsened with erratic power supply.
For the more than 1.5 million lawyers in India, the black coat is a professional compulsion, irrespective of how unkind the weather or the workplace is. Most of the lawyers in India feel that wearing a black coat during sweltering summers or muggy monsoons creates an unwanted occupational hazard for them.