Nowadays there is a huge advancement in technology around the world. India is also showing advancement in every sector. In India, the internet is easily available to each individual “with over 400 million users of the internet in 2018, making India the second largest internet user population in the world”, As the usage of the internet increases day by day, it is also showing their dark sides and one of them is “cyberbullying”. Cases of cyberbullying in India have also been rapidly increasing day by day. Nowadays, everyone has access to an internet connection, mobile phone, or a computer with them these are the things that can be used to commit a criminal offense, and increasing usage of these items leads to an increase in cybercrime cases. In India nowadays, these three items becomes a necessity for every individual. It has become easy for a person to commit a cybercrime, such as Transaction Fraud, Cyberbullying, Phishing, Spoofing, Cyberstalking, etc.
Cyberbullying is one of these crimes that are rapidly increasing over time, which we are going to focus on. Cyberbullying can be defined as a crime that is also done with the help of a mobile phone and an internet connection. Cyberbullying usually targets students in schools and colleges for harassing and torturing them online through social media with help of smartphones and the internet. In most cases, teenagers are the victims of cyberbullying since they get affected easily by the influence of peer pressure or social media, and most of the time they do not complain about it to anyone such as parents or friends. Cyberbullying creates a huge influence on their minds and most of the time they think or worry about their reputation it creates a lot of pressure on their minds and they commit suicide.
What is Cyberbullying?
Cyberbullying can be aggressive sometimes in the end it has a traumatizing effect on the victim’s mind. Cyberbullying can be defined as an act of harassing, defaming, or intimidating the victim through the usage of an internet connection with the help of mobile phones or computers on social media or any other online platforms. Cyberbullying has been rapidly increasing in India with such a huge effect on teenagers life this has become a major concern. With easy internet availability, it becomes easier for bullies to attack the victims they do it without knowing how much they can affect the life of the victims, and what are the repercussions of cyberbullying. In most cases, the victim commits suicide thinking that this is the only option left in their life without knowing that this decision will hugely impact their families. Most victims are not aware of the laws that are established by the government. A cyberbully can be someone that the victim knows or can be someone he doesn’t know. That means that the victim can be tortured or hurt after being miles away by a cyberbully, which makes it even more dangerous.
What are the Laws against cyberbullying?
The Indian Penal Code, 1860 (“IPC”) doesn’t define it as a punishable offense. However, various provisions of the Indian Penal Code and Information Technology Act, of 2000 can be used to fight cyberbullies.
Information Technology Act 2000
Information Technology Act is an act passed by the government that deals with crimes that include the usage of the internet or cyberspace, and the punishment of these offenses. There are some remedies present for the action of cyberbullying.
- Section 66(A)- This section deals with the offense of sending an abusive and hurtful message or illegal material online through the internet, social media, or any other platform.
- Section 66(D)- This section deals with the offense of “Punishment for cheating someone through the internet by using computer resources” person should be punished with imprisonment of 3 years.
- Section 66(E)- This section deals with the offense “if a person violates someone’s privacy digitally”. The person should be punished with imprisonment of 3 years.
- Section 67- This section deals with the offense “punishment of uploading your private clips, transferring or sharing vulgar material on the internet” person should be imprisoned for 5 years.
Indian Penal Code 1860
In this Act also there are specific laws that can somehow be used for the offenses of cyberbullying, such as
- Section 507- This section deals with the offenses such as a person who gives a threat, forces them to do something against their will and anonymously intimidates someone. The person should be punished with 2 years of imprisonment.
- Section 354(C)- This section deals with providing punishment to the person who has done the wrongful activity by clicking pictures of women without permission, keeping an eye on their private life or activity, and digitally being posted.
- Section354(D)- This section deals with the offense of checking or monitoring the private life of a person without their permission. Stalking on the internet to harm or hurt a person.
- Section 499- This section provides punishment for people sending hurtful messages to any person, this can be done with the help of e-mail, social media, and any other platforms.
Laws Against Cyberstalking of Women
Cyberstalking is an extension of stalking which is done digitally on social media or other platforms with the help of an internet connection so it is a part of cyberbullying. Section 354A and 354D of the IPC provide punishment for this criminal offense of cyberbullying and cyberstalking of women.
Online Sexual Harassment
Online sexual harassment includes digital mediums making calls repeatedly for vulgar conversations and sending vulgar messages on social media, emails, and other online platforms. The government has made certain concerted laws against it. The enactment of the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace Act 2013(“POSH ACT”) has conveyed that any form of sexual harassment of women in the workplace will not be tolerated. Further, there are many amendments to the Criminal Procedure Code 1973, IPC, and Indian Evidence Act that have facilitated online sexual harassment provisions.
Fake Social Media Profiles
Creation of fake Facebook or Instagram profiles in someone else name can be easily made. When the creation of fake Facebook or Instagram profile is accompanied by the uploading of vulgar photos of the victims on such profiles these sections can be taken into consideration, Section354D(for stalking), Section499 combined with Section500(Punishment for defamation), and Section 507(intimidation by an anonymous transfer or communication).
Cyberbullying is one such cybercrime that uses digital platforms for manipulating most teenagers or adolescents. In most of the cases related to cyberbullying, most of the victims have committed suicide, by thinking about tarnishing their reputation. It is concluded that cyberbullying is a vicious act of defaming, stalking, torturing, harassing, and hurting someone soo badly over the internet on social media or other online platforms with the help of just a mobile phone and internet connection. Due to extreme advancements in technology mobile phones, computers and the internet have the need of every person during the COVID period whether using it for educational purposes or connecting the world with one platform together.
Cyberbullying can be done even after being far away from the victim and it leaves a huge traumatizing effect on victims. There is a serious need of amending Indian Cyber Law relating to cyberbullying as people do not have much knowledge about it. We should make people aware by amending laws and giving more preference to cyberbullying. Before it reaches its extreme level where it becomes difficult to manage its consequences, the government should make strict laws against cyber bullies.
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