India plans to set up specialized training centres in cyber crime for judges in an effort to speed up disposal of cases related to such offences. Of the nearly 1,000 cyber law cases filed in India, just two have been decided so far.
The ministry of communications and information technology aims to tie up with private and public institutions, including the National Judiciary Academy at Bhopal and the Pune-headquartered Centre for Development of Advanced Computing, to set up training centres for judicial officers in the next fiscal year, a source in the ministry said, asking not to be identified.
The ministry, which spent Rs12 crore on tracking cyber crime, awareness of cyber laws, and research and development last year, plans to more than triple that budget to up to Rs40 crore given the new thrust on cyber crime training in the coming fiscal year.
India has about 12,700 judges, 600 of who are placed in high courts and around 25 in the Supreme Court. The remaining majority is in the lower courts.
The training centres will initially be set up in four cities and entail a three-five day training module for judges, said the source. The training will be imparted by cyber experts, scientists, police and technologists.
With no cyber courts in the country, modules dealing with cyber laws are yet to find a place in judicial training programmes. “We are anticipating an increase in the number of cyber crimes in the country and are preparing the judiciary to deal with that,” G. Mohan Gopal, director of the academy, said in a phone interview. “We will increase the integration of cyber crimes to the other programmes as needed.”
Hundreds of cyber crimes have been reported in the country ranging from email hacking and online threats to financial fraud on the Internet and through call centres. In a case that grabbed headlines early in 2005, five call-centre workers working for the world’s largest lender, Citibank’s outsourced services provider, Mphasis-BFL (taken over by EDS last year), allegedly defrauded the bank’s customers of $450,000 (Rs1.98 crore).
SC lawyer Pavan Duggal said the low disposal rate of such cases was because the judiciary was not adequately trained to speedily dispose them.
The National Association of Software and Service Companies, or Nasscom, is separately working on a training programme for judges. “This is currently in preliminary stages, as the first emphasis was on training the police, who are traditionally the first responders to crimes,” Nandkumar Sarvade, director of cyber securities and compliance at Nasscom, said in an email reply.