‘Cyber crime tribunal in red tape mesh’

Over two years after the Cyber Regulations Appellate Tribunal (CRAT) — the maiden forum in the country to exclusively try cyber cases — became functional, it recently got a new address and a well-equipped courtroom.

Its head, Justice Rajesh Tandon, remains dissatisfied with the "unreasonable" provision relating to the retiring age of the tribunal's presiding officer, and the procedural delays in appointments.

Created under the IT Act, the presiding officer of a tribunal is required to be either a judge of a High Court or is/has been a member of the Indian Legal Services and holds/has held a Grade I post in that service for at least three years. The term for the presiding officer has been limited to five years from his joining the post or till he attains the age of 65, whichever is earlier, under Section 51 of the Act. A High Court judge, however, retires at 62; hence he is left only with a three year-term to serve the office, Justice Tandon said.

"A presiding officer will naturally need time to get adjusted to the new arena of cyber laws. By the time he gets accustomed to the functioning of the tribunal, his tenure is almost over," Justice Tandon said.

Justice Tandon, who earlier served as a judge at Uttarakhand High Court, said: "The Secretary of the IT department received my consent last August, but took more than six months to send me the letter of appointment."

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