2nd RGNUL SAM CONCLAVE
The Editorial Board of RGNUL Financial and Mercantile Law Review (RFMLR) virtually organised the 2nd RGNUL-SAM Conclave on Practical aspects of IT Litigation and Data Protection in India 2022 in collaboration with Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co. (SAM & Co.). The Conclave consisted of two sessions: A Paper Presentation conducted on 7th May 2022 and an Expert Panel Discussion conducted on 14th May 2022
About SAM & CO:
SAM & Co, founded on a century of legal achievements, is amongst the leading full-service law firms in India. With over 732 lawyers and 140 partners spread across offices in seven locations in India, it is one of India's biggest and most reputed law firms. The firm offers solutions across diverse practice areas for industries, the central government and states, regulatory bodies, industry chambers, and non-profit organizations and represents major transnational corporates on their India entry and business strategy. The firm is known globally for its exceptional dispute resolution & arbitration, mergers & acquisitions, tax, competition law, regulatory litigation, capital markets, and private equity practices.
A multitude of teams work closely with each other and provide advice to clients on every aspect of their business, from entry strategies and complex tax-efficient structuring to divestitures and exits. It also includes engagements regarding complicated mergers, acquisitions, private equity transactions, takeover codes, corporate governance, and employee-related matters. Over the years, SAM & Co has given effect to various complex and seminal deals and has consistently been awarded for the same. Recently, KKR's acquisition in JB Chemicals & Pharmaceuticals has been recognized as Asia Pacific Deal of the Year by Private Equity International 2020. The firm has also achieved #1 in deal count and #1 in deal value in Merger Market India League Tables, 2018-20.
The Information Technology industry in India plays a vital role in its economic well-being and is one of the fastest-growing sectors in the country. The term is generally used to refer to a variety of areas including telecom, e-commerce, data protection and privacy, and intermediary liability, among others. The expansiveness of the domain also presents a plethora of challenges in the event of disputes. Data protection is the process of securing digital information while keeping data usable for business purposes without trading customer or end-user privacy. In today’s digital era, the increasing presence of many multinational companies working in multifarious sectors has led to a significant rise in data misuse. The 2nd RGNUL-SAM Conclave on Practical Aspects of Information Technology Litigation & Data Protection in India 2022 was extremely successful in initiating a discussion on the critical and contemporary issues in the Information Technology sector, with a particular focus on understanding the disputes that emerge in India. Various participants researched and presented novel and innovative solutions to the issues confronting all stakeholders during the paper presentation session. Leading experts from SAM & Co and other professionals in the Information Technology sector participated in the discussion, sharing practical insights into the industry's ever-changing opportunities and lingering challenges.
For the Paper Presentation, the Editorial Board had invited submissions from law students, academicians, working professionals, and research scholars which aimed at contributing to the discourse around the practical issues in Information Technology Litigation & Data Protection in India, through an exhaustive list of sub-themes. Research proposals were also allowed to be submitted by individuals interested in writing on issues beyond the given sub-themes but falling within the ambit of the larger debate. Entries were then shortlisted and the authors were invited to present their research to our panel of experts who judged these entries.
Among all the papers presented during the Paper Presentation Session on May 7, the first position was secured by Pratham Arya & Lisa Sankrit (Students, Symbiosis Law School Noida) who presented on the topic “Keeping it Online: Developing an ODR Mechanism for India's E-Commerce Disputes.” The second position was secured by Raj Shekhar & Aman Yuvraj Choudhary (Students, National University of Study and Research in Law, Ranchi) whose paper was titled, “International Data Localisation Disputes and the Cross-border Flow of Data: An Unending Conflict Between the Incongruent Dimension of Barriers, Safeguards and Free Flow of Data”. Finally, the third position was secured by Gargi Whorra (Ph.D. Scholar, Dr. Ram Manohar Lohiya National Law University, Lucknow) for their discussion on “Data Localization - An Issue Beyond Borders”.
Among all the papers presented in the Conclave, the top three have been awarded Certificates of Merit. The authors of the top entry have been rewarded with an internship at SAM & Co. along with a cash prize of Rs. 10,000. Additionally, after a comprehensive review of the papers shortlisted for presentation, the Editorial Board will be publishing the compilation of the best entries.
Expert Panel Discussion:
An Expert Panel Discussion was also organized by the Editorial Board virtually on the Cisco WebEx platform on May 14. The panel of speakers consisted of Mr. Tejas Karia (Partner, Head – Arbitration, SAM & Co.), Mr. Gauhar Mirza (Partner, SAM & Co.), and Dr. Subhajit Basu (Associate Profesor, Leeds University). The discussion was moderated by Mr. Prakhar Deep (Senior Associate, SAM & Co.).
During this discussion, the experts addressed critical and salient issues pertaining to practical aspects of IT Litigation and Data Protection in India. The session was attended by students and professionals from across the country and provided an opportunity for attendees to interact with experts in the field. The experts on the panel discussed practical issues that are frequently overlooked. As a result of the Expert Panel Discussion, the conclave ended on a very informative note.
The panel discussion involved discussion on several significant legal topics and related issues such as the growing significance of Online Dispute Resolution mechanisms amidst the Covid-19 pandemic, the scope of industry-specific Online Dispute Resolution framework in the Indian legal system, the issues related to IT litigation in India, the tussle between Intermediaries and law enforcing agencies in the Indian legal system amidst the expeditious growth of information technology in India, etc. On the scope and significance of Online Dispute Resolution mechanisms in the Indian legal system, all the panelists were in favor of Online Dispute Resolution mechanisms with their advantages such as cost and time efficiency of these mechanisms and the expeditious resolution of multiple disputes simultaneously, outweighing its issues of procedural difficulties and lack of equitable access of technology in the Indian society.
On the issue of IT litigation and tussle between the intermediaries and the law enforcement agencies, Mr. Tejas Karia emphasized the provisions related to the protection of intermediaries enshrined in the Information Technology Act, 2000, and Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules 2021, while Mr. Gauhar Mirza emphasized on the need of collaboration between the Intermediaries and law enforcing which can ensure that there is no legal hassle between the intermediaries and law enforcing agencies. On this same issue, Dr. Subhajit Basu emphasized the lack of understanding of technology before the development of this data protection legislation and the lack of awareness among people regarding the acceptability of their conduct as the main reasons behind the contemporary issues prevalent in the IT litigation and Data Protection. This marked an end to a highly enriching discussion among the esteemed panelists.