May 25, 2023

 Cyberbullying: The crime of Internet Era

This article has been written by Ms.Devika More,a 2nd year LLB Student from D.E.S.’S Shri Navalmal Firodia Law College, Pune. Cyberbullying is a very serious issue in india,in the recent times with the widespread use of social media and different applications used for communication and messaging.Bullying has been prevalent as a serious issue in the society but in today’s day and age where the internet is extremely prevalent in the whole world, there has been a rise in cases of cyberbullying all over the world.India being a country where the internet use has risen over the past decade or so has seen emerging cases of the same in recent times. Cyberbullying is a term which is used to define harassment through various social media applications used by a widespread of people which has unfortunately become a medium to intimidate,harass or threaten someone by ways of spreading rumours or false information etc. All these issues can take a toll on a person’s mental health and wellbeing.   NCRB data reported that there was a rise in cases of cybercrimes in the past couple of years.Various cases were reported in India consisting of cybercrimes which included cyberstalking, cyber blackmailing, defamation. The main reason for rise in these cases has been rapid rise in use of smartphones in all age groups and the applications such as Facebook,Instagram,Snapchat and many others which are used by many individuals in this time,another reason being the very cheap and affordable data plans being provided in our country which gives easy access to anybody to make use of it.The most important factor of cyberbullying is anonymity,which gives a sense of power to the person behind the keyboard to say or do things which are wrong and hurtful which that individual may never do in person or in the society.This is a key factor why people are not scared to do or say hurtful things on the internet.Unfortunately all these applications have become that source to do so.And they feel entitled to say or do such things on these apps.   The effects of cyberbullying can be devastating and lead to anxiety, depression and even suicide. In 2017,the suicide of a 14-year-old Mumbai girl who was allegedly bullied online made national headlines. The incident sparked debate about the need to address the problem of cyberbullying in India.In response to growing concerns over cyberbullying, the Indian government has taken several steps to address the issue. In 2015, the government launched a cybercrime reporting portal to allow individuals to report incidents of cyberbullying and other forms of online harassment. The portal also provides information about cybercrime and how to protect yourself online. Despite these efforts, cyberbullying remains a widespread problem in India. One of the main reasons for this is the lack of awareness of cyberbullying and its effects. Many people in India do not know what cyberbullying is and its effects on a person’s mental health. Because of this lack of awareness, cyberbullying is often dismissed as “just a joke” or “harmless fun.”More education and awareness campaigns about cyberbullying are needed to combat this lack of awareness. Schools and colleges play an important role in educating children and young people about the effects of cyberbullying. Parents can also educate their children about online safety and responsible use of digital technology.Another major challenge in tackling cyberbullying is the lack of strict laws and regulations to address the problem. India has a cybercrime law,the Information Technology Act, 2000, which criminalises certain online activities such as hacking and identity theft. However, the law does not specifically address cyberbullying or provide guidance on how to deal with the problem. In 2018, the Ministry of Women and Child Development released a “National Policy Draft for Women” proposing to amend the Indian Penal Code to criminalise cyberbullying. The directive also proposes the creation of a dedicated cybercrime unit to deal with complaints related to cyberbullying and other online crimes. These proposals are a step in the right direction, but stronger cyberbullying prevention laws are needed.In addition to defining cyberbullying, the law should also provide guidelines for reporting and investigating such incidents. It should feel heavy. With the proliferation of social media platforms and the internet, the problem of cyberbullying in India has become a serious problem. According to research by the National Criminal Records Service, the number of cybercrime cases increased 77.8% in 2019 compared to the previous year. Cyberbullying, the use of electronic communications to harass, intimidate, or intimidate someone, is a serious problem that can have lasting effects on the mental health and well-being of the victim.This article examines the legal aspects of cyberbullying in India and what steps are being taken to address this issue.    Legal framework for cyberbullying in India The Constitution of India guarantees to all citizens the right to freedom of speech and expression under Article 19(1)(a).However, this right is not absolute and the state can impose certain restrictions for the sake of public order, decency and morality. The Information Technology Act (IT Act), 2000 is the primary law regulating cybercrime, including cyberbullying, in India. The IT Act defines cyberbullying as any activity that uses a computer or communication device to send threatening, harassing, or obscene messages or posts. Cyberbullying is a criminal offence under section 66A of the IT Act, punishable by up to three years in prison and a fine for those found guilty of sending inappropriate messages over telecommunications devices. However, Section 66A was overturned by the Supreme Court in 2015 on the grounds that it violated the right to freedom of speech and expression. Due to the absence of Section 66A, cyberbullying is now addressed in various other articles of the IT Act and the Indian Penal Code (IPC). Some of the relevant sections are:   Article 67: This provision makes it a crime to post or transmit obscene material electronically. Penalties can be up to three years in prison and a fine. Section 67A: This section makes it a crime to post or transmit sexually explicit content in electronic form. Penalties can be up to five years in prison or a fine. Section 354A of the IPC: This section deals with sexual harassment and is punishable by up to three years in prison and a fine. Section 507  IPC :  The section states that if anyone receives criminal intimidation by way of anonymous communication then the person giving threats shall be punished with imprisonment for up to two years. By virtue of word anonymity the offence of anti-bullying and cyberbullying is included in this section.   Legal regulations provide a framework for dealing with cyberbullying in India. But the challenge is to identify perpetrators and enforce the law. Due to the anonymity of the Internet, it can be difficult to track cyberbullying and hold them accountable for their actions.   Anti-cyberbullying in India In recent years, there have been several initiatives by the government and other interest groups to address the problem of cyberbullying in India. Some of the notable steps taken are:   National Cyber ​​Crime Reporting Portal: The Home Office launched the National Cybercrime Reporting Portal in 2019, providing a platform for citizens to report cybercrime, including cyberbullying. The portal allows victims to anonymously report incidents and provides a simple and user-friendly interface for submitting complaints. Cybercrime Prevention Portal for Women and Children (CCPWC): The Home Office launched her CCPWC portal in 2018 to provide a platform for reporting cyber crimes against women and children.    Conclusion   Cyberbullying is a very serious issue in today’s time and many people have faced serious consequences mentally as well as physically due to the same. The rise in these cases has alarmed the government in india and necessary steps have been taken by them in regards to the same and punishments have also been stated.But the difficulty with such type of crime is that the said person is very difficult to be found because of the anonymity and hence advantage is taken of the same.   References   Cyberbullying – A Changing Trend of Modern Crime – MyGov Blogs   What is Cyber Bullying or Anti-Bullying Laws in India (   Cyberbullying Laws in India – The Law Express Aishwarya Says: The copyright of this Article belongs exclusively to Ms. Aishwarya Sandeep. Reproduction of the same, without permission will amount to Copyright Infringement. Appropriate Legal Action under the Indian Laws will be taken. If you would also like to contribute to my website, then do share your articles or poems to Join our  Whatsapp Group for latest Job Opening  

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