EXPERT PANEL DISCUSSION ON 
“E-COMMERCE AND REGULATIONS”

On March 13, 2021, RFMLR conducted an Expert Panel Discussion on “E-commerce: Legal Issues and Regulations”. The event was held in collaboration with Lex Witness and the Society for Corporate Legal Experts. We began with a welcome note from Prof. (Dr.) Anand Pawar, former Interim Vice-Chancellor, RGNUL. After a brief introduction of all the panelists, the host passed the stage to Mr. Zameer Nathani, the moderator for the event. We were joined by some extremely experienced professionals working in e-commerce and allied laws. In today’s day and age, the relevance of e-commerce and its legal aspects cannot be overstated. Members of the legal fraternity across boundaries continue to explore and understand its complexities. To untangle some of the convolutions of e-commerce, RFMLR invited the following experts:

 

Moderator:

Mr. Zameer Nathani, Senior Vice President and General Counsel, UFO Moviez India Ltd.

 

Speakers:

Mr. Rodney D. Ryder, Partner at Scriboard [Advocates & Legal Consultants]

Mr. Ganesh Prasad, Partner (E-commerce and Private Equity), Khaitan & Co

Ms. Aakanksha Kaul, Advocate, Supreme Court of India

Mr. Abhishek Malhotra, Founder & Managing Partner - TMT Law Practice

Mr. Aviral Sahai, Principal Associate, Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas

 

The discussion started off with comments on the ambiguous position of e-pharmacy in India, especially after the government ignored the Delhi High Court’s 2019 judgement halting the sale of medicines online. Ms. Kaul also talked about the need for proper rules regulating the sale of prescription drugs, and how e-pharmacy might affect the sustainability of physical pharmacies. The panel then moved on to discuss the Consumer Protection (E-commerce) Rules, 2020, which had implications ranging from punishment for fake reviews to competition law issues. Mr. Sahai addressed the question, discussing unfair trade practices and the liabilities associated with online marketplaces, imposed by the 2020 Rules. Mr. Nathani then posed a question to Mr. Rodney about the rise in the incidents of cyber fraud and online brand abuse, and how e-commerce entities can ensure protection from the same. After a detailed answer from Mr. Rodney, the panel then moved on to discuss data breaches, and the measures that regulatory bodies can take to mitigate the same. Mr. Malhotra highlighted the difference between personal data and sensitive personal data, and the heightened level of protection accorded to the latter by the Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019. He also talked about the lack of legislation regulating data protection, and how its absence is being filled by regulatory authorities like the Reserve Bank of India. He also addressed Mr. Nathani’s question about the Big Basket data breach of 2020, and pointed out the irony in assessing the company’s liability while it is actually a victim itself. The panel then discussed the potential liabilities of e-commerce platforms in detail, specifically liability in terms of providing a marketplace for fake products, and what these entities can do to mitigate said liabilities. Mr. Malhotra and Mr. Nathani talked about the importance of basic due diligence and take down mechanisms in mitigating breaches related to intellectual property and data. The panel also talked about the Amazon - Future Group dispute; the Walmart Flipkart deal, and the importance of keeping checks and balances.

 

The event ended with a note of thanks from Mr. Nathani.