Cyber Crime/Online Fraud

Cyber Bullying Law: Everything You Need to Know

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Bullying can be defined as a deliberate act by a culprit that hurts the victim physically or emotionally, even though it may not constitute a criminal offence. Bullies frequently put their victims at their mercy and employ coercion, belittling, or social isolation to accomplish their objectives. Bullying can occur in both open and closed environments. It terrorises the victim and could cause long-term emotional harm. 

When someone is bullied online, whether, through text messenger, virtual social media sites or any internet forums where members can post and send messages, it is referred to as cyberbullying. Bullying is defined as the act of communicating hurtful, inaccurate, or malicious information about another person. Cyberbullying is treated as an offence in criminal law. Cyberbullying, also known as online bullying, differs from traditional bullying in that the victim is unaware of who is bullying them. Bullying has wide-ranging and long-lasting repercussions because it harms the victim's mental health. Cyberbullying has similar long-term effects. Unfortunately, India came in third place in a 2012 Microsoft Corporation assessment of 25 nations on the recorded incidences of internet bullying. Also, the Internet security company McAfee performed research in 2014 that found that "50% of the Indian youth seemed to have some encounter with cyberbullying." This makes it important to understand India’s laws and remedies for cyberbullying. 

 

ISSUE

Only a few victims report cases of cyberbullying, despite the fact that there are laws in place to punish bullying. The majority would instead remain silent and wait for things to become better on their own. 

 

There are a few crucial problems that politicians need to take into account if they want to change people's mindsets. For instance, the decision-makers could adopt policies that are kid-friendly and clarify why cyberbullying is harmful to both society and children and other vulnerable sections of society. I believe in-depth conversations on these should be held in conjunction with cybercrime specialists, attorneys, academics, human rights advocates, and educators.

 

LAWS

Bullying is not specifically outlined under the Indian Penal Code, 1860 ("IPC") nor sanctioned as a crime. To combat cyberbullying, though, there are certain sections of the Indian Penal Code and the IT Act.

NCW describes cyberstalking in its legal module on "Gender Sensitization and Legal Awareness Programme". Slander, defamation, and threats are just a few examples of the numerous types of cyberbullying that can be performed online, through electronic mail, or via other methods of electronic communication. Among other things, cyberstalking includes the following: 

  • sending offensive or abusive messages, postings, or remarks; 

  • online persona theft with the purpose of spreading fake information to degrade or torment; 

  • finding someone's whereabouts through dubious methods; 

  • uploading offensive images; 

  • Internet harassment by making disparaging comments.

It is made punishable under 354D of IPC. The text of IPC Section 354D makes it apparent that the section punishes both the crime of offline and online stalking sans making any distinctions based on whether or not the harassment took place online. But subsection (2) doesn't make it clear how the victim can be deemed to be "monitored" or "watched" or what activities qualify as such behaviour.

In India, the term "eve-teasing" was frequently used to describe sexual harassment, which minimised the seriousness of the offence. However, a significant shift in how sexual harassment of women is handled has been brought about by the collective forces of the judiciary, the legislative, the Law Commission of India, NGOs, and women's campaigners. With the passage of the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition, and Redressal) Act 2013 (the "POSH Act"), it has been made clear that no type of sexual harassment of women in the workplace would be accepted. The Criminal Justice system and bare acts have all undergone significant revisions that make it easier to prosecute sexual harassment.

In order to punish the offence of sexual harassment, Section 354A was added to the IPC with effect from February 3, 2013. According to Section 354A, sexual harassment is an offence that is punishable by 3 years of rigorous imprisonment and/or a fine if it involves physical contact, advances that are unwanted and overtly sexual, demands or requests for sexual favours, showing pornography, or making comments with a sexual connotation.

BULLYING REMEDIES IN SCHOOLS

  • Immediately take action to support the victim; 

  • Send a complaint to the school's administration detailing the online bullying. According to the "CBSE Guidelines for prevention of Bullying and Ragging in Schools," every school must establish an anti-bullying committee, which will investigate the allegation; 

  • Inform your local police station about the online bullying, and they will forward the case to the cybercrime unit for review. The Juvenile Justice Board will then investigate the event and handle it in accordance with the Juvenile Justice Act, 2000 after the cyber-crime cell has reported it.

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