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As our able readers might be aware, how significant space the Cyber World has created in our lives, due to which since the past decade Cyber Crimes have also tremendously increased in India. The Information and Technology Act, of 2000 specifically deals with the provisions to curb, prevent, and stop the increasing rate of cybercrimes also ensuring the remedies to its victims and proper punishments to its offenders. In that line, the establishment of the Cyber Appellate Tribunal is also defined under the I.T. Act, 2000.

Establishment of Cyber Appellate Tribunal in India

As the name suggests this Tribunal is an Appellate Authority. According to Section 48(1) of the Information and Technology Act, 2000, the Central Government may by a Notification establish a Cyber Appellate Tribunal in India, which may be one or more than one at the place as the Government seems fit. The powers of the Tribunal are, however, limited to those of a Civil Court. The jurisdiction of the Cyber Appellate Tribunal is pre-defined which cannot be abrogated at any point in time.

Composition of Cyber Appellate Tribunal: Section 49 of the Information and Technology Act, 2000

The Cyber Appellate Tribunal shall consist of a Chairperson and such number of other members as the Central Government may notify, the Members must fulfill the qualifications and other requirements as prescribed under the statutory provisions of the Act. They are;

  • Qualifications: According to Section 49 of the Act, the Chairperson of the CAT, must be a person who is qualified to be appointed or is the Judge of a High Court in the State. The Members apart from the Chairperson who needs to be appointed here, must either be the Member of Indian Legal Service or has held the post of Additional Secretary for a period of not less than one year. The Members must have special knowledge in field of Information and Technology, telecommunication, industry, management, and consumer affairs.
  • Term of the Chairperson/ Member: According to Section 51(1) of the I.T. Act, 2000 the term of the Chairperson or the Member been appointed at the Cyber Appellate Tribunal must be a minimum of five years from the date on which they entered upon their office or until they attain the age of 65 years whichever is earlier.
  • Powers of the Cyber Appellate Tribunal: According to Section 52A of the Act, the Chairperson appointed at the CAT, is vested with both executive and administrative powers, and a general power of superintendence over the affairs of the Tribunal. The Chairperson can usually preside the meetings, and can transfer the case according to the procedure laid down, which may be pending before any Bench to any Bench, as he thinks fit. The Chairperson can also take suo-moto cognizance of any Cyber Crime without any formal complaint in this regard. According to the Statutory Provisions of Code of Civil Procedure, 1908the Cyber Appellate Tribunal is vested with the powers of a Civil Court, which is not bound to follow the common procedure of law, but due to its specific and technical nature of work, it has a liberty to work on the principles of natural justice. The Cyber Appellate Tribunal is vested with a vast set of powers, but the main exclusive powers in this regard are:
  1. It can summon any person, as thinks fit for enforcing his presence or attendance and examining him on oath.
  2. It can direct any concerned individual to require the discovery and production of documents or other electronic records as it thinks fit, which is necessary for the Investigation.
  3. It can receive evidence on affidavits from any concerned individual.
  4. It has a wide power to review its own decisions.
  5. It can rightfully dismiss an application for the default caused by or deciding the case relating to an ex-parte.
  6. It can incorporate Commissions for the proper and detailed examination of witnesses and documents.
  7. Can decide and act in its own way, on any other matter as may be prescribed under its rules.
  • Resignation and Removal of Chairperson/ Members: According to Section 52 of the Information and Technology Act, 2000states that a Member or Chairperson of the Tribunal may resign, by giving its official intimation to the Central Government. The Central Government may either accept his resignation, or may ask the concerned individual to hold the office until his tenure ends or hold the office until the expiry of three months from the date of receipt of the resignation. However, the Chairperson or the Member of the Tribunal can be removed by holding an enquiry against them, under the Chairmanship of a Supreme Court Judge, on the grounds of proved Mis-behavior and In-capacity.
  • Appeals: The Appeals directly come before the Cyber Appellate Authority from the Adjudicating Officer, and thereafter may get appealed to High Court of the concerned State and Jurisdiction.
  1. Appeals from the Controller Authority or Adjudicating Officer to Cyber Appellant Tribunal: According to Section 57 of the Information and Technology Act, 2000 provides the Right to Appeal to the person aggrieved from the orders of the Controlling Authority or the Adjudicating Officers, however, the admissibility of the appeal is totally and exclusively the discretion of the Tribunal.
  2. Appeal from Cyber Appellate Tribunal to High Court of the State: Even after the person or the Appellant remains aggrieved from the Orders or Decision of the Cyber Appellate Tribunal, then in pursuance and accordance with the Section 62 of the Information and Technology Act, 2000 he may appeal his matter before Hon’ble High Court of the State, within 60 days from receiving the receipt of the Order of the Tribunal in his case.
  • Conclusion: The pace with which the Cyber Crimes are increasing in India, is a matter of great concern before the present Governmental Authorities. As Cyber Crimes are of a specific and technical nature, therefore, they require certain persons and personnel who are qualified in Cyber Law and well versed in the field of Information and Technology, which was the main aim for establishing a separate Tribunal for dealing with the Cases, related to Cyber Crimes also ensuring their disposal at the earliest, than the other Judicial Organs.

The Cyber Appellate Tribunal mainly works for curbing the preventing the Cyber Crimes and punishing the offenders of such crimes.

By: Yashraj Bais (Advocate)

Reviewed by Adv. Nishtha Wadhwa, Content Writer and Reviewer, LCI

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