Electronic Transactions ACT

Arrangement of Sections

1. Short title.

CHAPTER I

GENERAL PROVISIONS

2. Objectives of the Act.

CHAPTER II

RECOGNITION DATA MESSAGES AND OTHER COMMUNICATIONS IN ELECTRONIC FORM

3. Legal recognition of electronic records.

4. Requirement for writing.

5. Requirements for original form.

6. Requirements for retention.

7. Legal recognition of electronic signatures.

8. Use of electronic records and electronic signatures in Government institutions and statutory bodies.

9. Publication in electronic forms of Gazette deemed to be publication.

10. No right to insist on records being in electronic form.

CHAPTER III

ELECTRONIC CONTRACTS

11. Electronic Contracts.

12. Attribution of electronic records.

13. Acknowledgement of receipt.

14. Time and place of dispatch and receipt of electronic records.

15. Variation by agreement.

16. Liability of Certification Service Providers.

17. Avoidance of doubt.

CHAPTER IV

CERTIFICATION AUTHORITY AND CERTIFICATION OF SERVICE PROVIDERS

18. Designation of a Certification Authority.

19. Powers of Certification Authority.

20. Accreditation of Certification Service Providers.

CHAPTER V

RULES GOVERNING EVIDENCE

21. Applicability of the Rules of Evidence.

22. Provisions of the Evidence (Special Provisions) Act, No. 14 of 1995 not to apply.

CHAPTER VI

MISCELLANEOUS

23. Restriction on application of the Act.

24. Regulations.

25. Sinhala text to prevail in case of inconsistency.

26. Interpretation.

19 of 2006.

AN ACT to recognise and facilitate the formation of contracts, the creation and exchange of data messages, electronic documents, electronic records and other communications in electronic form in Sri Lanka, and to provide for the appointment of a certification authority and accreditation of certification service providers, and to provide for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.

[Date of Commencement: 19th May, 2006 ]

1. Short title.

(1) This Act may be cited as the Electronic Transactions Act.

(2) The provisions of subsection (1) of this section shall come into operation on the date on which this Act is Certified as an Act of Parliament and the other provisions shall come into operation on such date as the Minister may appoint, by Order published in the Gazette (hereinafter referred to as the "appointed date”).

CHAPTER I

GENERAL PROVISIONS

2. Objectives of the Act.

The objectives of the Act shall be—

(a) to facilitate domestic and international electronic commerce by eliminating legal barriers and establishing legal certainty;

(b) to encourage the use of reliable forms of electronic commerce;

(c) to facilitate electronic filling of documents with Government and to promote efficient delivery of Government services by means of reliable forms of electronic communications; and

(d) to promote public confidence in the authenticity, integrity and reliability of data messages, electronic documents, electronic records or other communications.

CHAPTER II

RECOGNITION DATA MESSAGES AND OTHER COMMUNICATIONS IN ELECTRONIC FORM

3. Legal recognition of electronic records.

No data message, electronic document, electronic record or other communication shall be denied legal recognition, effect, validity or enforceability on the ground that it is in electronic form.

4. Requirement for writing.

Notwithstanding the fact that the provisions of written laws for the time being in force in Sri Lanka attach legal validity to certain instruments, only if such instruments have been reduced to writing, such requirement shall be deemed to be satisfied by a data message, electronic document, electronic record or other communication in electronic form if the information contained therein is accessible so as to be usable for subsequent reference.

5. Requirements for original form.

(1) Where the law requires information to be presented or retained in its original form, that requirement shall be deemed to be satisfied by a data message, electronic document, electronic record or other communication in electronic form if there exists a reliable assurance as to the integrity of the information from the time when it was made available in electronic form and the information contained in the data message, electronic document, electronic record or other communication is available and can be used for subsequent reference.

(2) For the purposes of subsection (1) —

(a) the criterion for assessing the integrity of information, is whether such information has remained complete and unaltered, apart from the addition of any endorsement or any change which arises in the normal course of communication, storage or display; and

(b) the standard for reliability of the assurance shall be assessed having regard to the purpose for which the information was generated and all other relevant circumstances.

6. Requirements for retention.

The requirement under any law that information be retained, shall be deemed to be satisfied by the retention in electronic form of information contained in a data message, electronic document, electronic record or other communication notwithstanding the fact that such information was not originally generated in electronic form, if—

(a) the information in the data message, electronic document, electronic record or communication is accessible so as to be usable for subsequent reference; and

(b) the data message, electronic document, electronic record or communication is retained in the format in which it was generated, sent or received, or in a format which can be demonstrated to represent accurately the information generated, sent or received; and

(c) such information, enables the identification of the origin and destination of the data message, electronic document, electronic record or other communication and the date and time when such information was generated, sent or received, is retained:

Provided that the provisions of this section shall not apply to any information, which is automatically generated solely for the purpose of enabling an electronic record to be dispatched or received.

7. Legal recognition of electronic signatures.

Where any Act, or enactment provides that any information or communication shall be authenticated by affixing the signature, or that any document should be signed or bear the signature of any person, then, notwithstanding anything contained in such law, such requirement shall be deemed to be satisfied, if such information or matter is authenticated by means of an electronic signature.

Explanation for the purpose of this section, "sign” with its grammatical variations and cognate expressions, shall, with reference to a person mean, the affixing of his hand-written signature or any mark on any document and the expression, "signature” shall be construed accordingly.

8. Use of electronic records and electronic signatures in Government institutions and statutory bodies.

(1) Where any written law for the time being in force requires—

(a) the filing of any form, application, or any other document with any Government department, office, body or agency owned or controlled by the Government or a statutory body in a particular manner;

(b) the issue of grant of any license, permit or approval; or

(c) the receipt of payment of money, procurement or other transaction to be effected in a particular manner,

then, notwithstanding anything to the contrary contained in any other law for the time being in force, such requirement shall be deemed to have been satisfied if such filing, creation, retention, issue, grant, receipt, payment, procurement or transaction, as the case may be, is effected in the form of electronic records as may be specified by the relevant Ministry, Government department, Institution, statutory body or public corporation or other similar body.

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