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When a sitting Supreme Court judge, a Senior Counsel and a bunch of lawyers sit and discuss common myths surrounding eSign and eContracting – several commonly held doubts melt away.
Leegality was extremely fortunate to be involved in a pathbreaking session on ‘eContracting and Arbitration’ on 13 June 2020.
Organized by Lex Witness, in conjunction with SAP India, Symbiosis Law School Noida, THS – The law firm and the Sadghamaya network – the webinar saw a power-packed two hour discussion covering the legal and operational framework around eContracting.
Truly an expert panel
- Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul, Sitting Judge, Supreme Court of India
- Sr. Adv. R. Venkatramani, Senior Counsel, Supreme Court of India
- Alok Kumar, Founding Partner, THS – The Law Firm
- Kalindee Mehta, General Counsel and Company Secretary, SAP India
- Ashish Chandra, General Counsel, Whatsapp India
- Sapan Parekh, Co-Founder and Head of Business, Leegality
Not just another rambling webinar
On the face of it, the webinar was modelled around the same format that we have all become habituated with (and perhaps even sick off) during the COVID-19 lockdown.
However, there was a critical difference.
Panelist questions were sought at the time of registration and intimated to panelists in advance. As a result – panelist presentations ended up being tailored to answer audience questions. The entire session therefore ended up being an extended Q and A session!
The panel arrived at 4 key conclusions by the end of the session:
- eContracting and eSign already have a robust regulatory and legal framework in India
- eSigned contracts are easier to prove in a Court of law than paper-based contracts
- eSigned contracts have several operational advantages over paper based contract flows
- It is possible to digitize stamp duty
- eContracts are key in facilitating Online Dispute Resolution
eSign and eContracting already have a robust regulatory and legal framework in India
All panelists agreed that the Indian legal and regulatory framework is already built to facilitate eContracts and eSign in India.
Some Key Bytes:
Justice Kaul clarified that eContracting is not a strange beast and is already governed by the Contract Act as it stands (video)
Justice Kaul on the ways in which Indian law allows eSign to thrive (video)
Sapan Parekh on the clear regulatory structure underpinning eSign in India (video)
Justice Kaul and Sr. Adv. Venkatramani discuss the Second Schedule of the IT Act (video)
eSigned contracts are easier to prove in a Court of law than paper-based contracts
All panelists agreed that eSigned contracts are easier to prove in a Court of law than paper-based contracts.
Some Key Bytes:
Justice Kaul on why agreements signed by Aadhaar eSign are easier to enforce than physically signed agreements (video)
Sr. Adv. R. Venkatramani speaks about how evidence and proof are intrinsically built into eContracts (video)
Ashish Chandra discusses the evidentiary aspects of electronic records (video)
Ashish Chandra talks about Section 90A of the Evidence Act (video)
eSigned contracts have several advantages over paper based flows
Apart from the sound legal framework surrounding eSign, all panelists also agreed that eSign confers several critical operational benefits that businesses can leverage.
Some Key Bytes
Justice Kaul on why eSign is better than physical signing (video)
Kalindee Mehta on why eSign is easier than physical signing (video)
Sapan Parekh busts the myth that you need a USB token to affix electronic signatures (video)
Kalindee Mehta and R. Venkatramani talk about how eContracts can considerably reduce breaches of confidentiality (video)
It is possible to digitize stamp duty
Payment of stamp duty is essentiall to creating enforceable contracts. Naturally, the audience asked a lot of questions on this.
Some Key Bytes
Sapan Parekh on how to pay stamp duty digitally (video)
Sapan Parekh speaks about how Section 4 of the IT Act is key to digitizing stamp duty (video)
R. Venkatramani talks about how digital stamping helped in the Amrapali Home Buyers dispute (video)
Justice Kaul talks about how acts like Stamp Acts are likely to be ready harmoniously with the IT Act to ensure that their pith and substance is met (video)
eContracts are key in facilitating ODR
In legal circles, Online Dispute Resolution or ODR has become a part of the zeitgeist. The panelists had some views.
The full recording of the session can be found here.
Stay tuned for more critical conversations surrounding digital contracting and the world of eSign!
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