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Dr. Anil R. Nair, Assistant Professor at NUALS, Cochin reviews Electronic Signature – Legal and Technical Perspectives authored by Shanmugham D. Jayan and published by CBS Publishers and Distributers, New Delhi, First Edition-2011.
By Dr. Anil R. Nair
Electronic Signature – Legal and Technical Perspectives is authored by Shanmugham D. Jayan who is practising as a lawyer specialising in commodity taxation and is frequenting courts and authorities of first instance. An expert in Information Technology Law, he has three publications to his credit. He was also the Chairman of the First Commodities Exchange of India.
The book under review provides an exceptional analysis of the theoretical underpinnings behind the law relating to electronic signatures. Presented in a lucid style it explains to the layman and lays bare to the lawyer the various factors that have gone into legislative thinking while framing the provisions of the statutes dealing with electronic signatures.
The book is spread across five chapters. In the first one, the author logically introduces the reader into the subject of electronic signatures comparing and distinguishing it with human signatures. The second chapter explains the technology involved in the generation of digital signatures, the institutional mechanisms created and the technical limitations associated with the use of digital signatures. In the third chapter the clarity on the legal issues involved in equating electronic and hand signatures is brought out with simple examples. The fourth chapter provides a comparative perspective to the issue. The book justifies the author’s call for a technology neutral approach to the concept of electronic signatures which is made in the concluding chapter.
The fourth chapter is the most valuable one in the book. The comparative study covers the statutes of Utah in the US, Germany, Singapore, Finland, Philippines, United Kingdom and India. It thus provides a wider and deeper perspective on the objectives motivating these legislations, the technology recognized by them, the institutional support structures created in each country, the procedural formalities involved and the evidentiary value associated with electronic signatures. This chapter also discusses the ABA Guidelines, the UNCITRAL Model Law, the UETA prepared in Chicago and the European Union Directives in this regard.
In the appendices attached to the book the Information Technology Act, 2000 and the Information Technology (Amendment) Act, 2008 are discussed from the perspective of electronic signatures thus completing the author’s objective of making this book an indispensible acquisition for any library.
Nicely packaged and bound with a handy index that contributes to making the book a useful one for reference. This book is a must read for all those using electronic signatures. The book is priced at Rs. 250.
Dr. Anil R. Nair (LL.M., Ph.D.) is Assistant Professor at National University of Advanced Legal Studies, Cochin, India.