Introduction to Cyber Law:
Cyber Law as we all know is the law that deals with crimes done with the help of
modern technology that is mainly through computers. The Parliament of India
passed its first cyber law through the Information Technology Act,2000 which
provides the legal infrastructure for e-commerce in India.
This law helps with the various legal formalities that e- commerce apps or sites
have to face. Another important reason for passing this law is to protect the
security of India so that it does not it does get threatened by people who can
easily access through confidential data’s with the help of a computer or any
other such electronic device. Hence,the importance of cyber law is increasing
day by day in the modern society
Cyber Law: Meaning and Definition
Cyber Law is any law that applies to the internet and internet related
technologies. Thus, Cyber law is the area of law that deals with the internet’s
relationship to technological and electronic elements including computer
software ,hardware and information systems.
Cyber laws prevent or reduce large scale damage from cybercriminal activities by
protecting information access, privacy, communications, intellectual property
(IP) and freedom of speech related to the use of the Internet, websites, email,
computers, cell phones, software and hardware, such as data storage devices.
Offences relating to cyber laws:
There are various offences that are related to cyber law and the Information
Technology Act,2000 deals with such offences and their punishments. The offences
mentioned in the act are as follows:
- Tampering with computer source documents (Sec 65):
Whoever knowingly or intentionally conceals, destroys or alters or
intentionally or knowingly causes another to conceal, destroy or alter any
computer source code used for a computer, computer programme, computer
system or computer network, when the computer source code is required to be
kept or maintained by law for the time being in force, shall be punishable
with imprisonment up to three years, or with fine which may extend up to two
lakh rupees, or with both.
For the purposes of this section, "computer source code" means the listing
of programmes, computer commands, design and layout and programme analysis
of computer resource in any form.
- Hacking with computer source( Sec 66):
- Whoever with the intent of cause or knowing that is likely to cause
wrongful loss or damage to the public or any person destroys or deletes or
alters any information residing in a computer resource or diminishes its
value or utility or affects it injuriously by any means, commit’s hacking
- Whoever commits hacking shall be punished with imprisonment up to three
years, or with fine which may extend up to two lakh rupees, or with both.
- Receiving stolen computer or communication device (Sec 66B):
Whoever dishonestly receives or retains any stolen computer resource or
communication device knowing or having reason to believe the same to be stolen
computer resource or communication device, shall be punished with imprisonment
of either description for a term which may extend to three years or with fine
which may extend to rupees one lakh or with both.
- Using password of another person(Sec 66C):
A person fraudulently uses the password, digital signature or other unique
identification of another person.
Penalty - Imprisonment up to three years, or/and with fine up to Rs 100,000
- Cheating using computer resource( Sec 66D):
Whoever, by means of any communication device or computer resource cheats by
personation, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a
term which may extend to three years and shall also be liable to fine which may
extend to one lakh rupees.
- Punishment for violation of privacy( Sec 66E):
- Whoever, intentionally or knowingly captures, publishes or transmits the
image of a private area of any person without his or her consent, under
circumstances violating the privacy of that person, shall be punished with
imprisonment which may extend to three years or with fine not exceeding two lakh rupees, or with
Explanation.- For the purposes of this section:
- transmit means to electronically send a visual image with the intent
that it be viewed by a person or persons
- capture, with respect to an image, means to videotape, photograph, film
or record by any means;
- private area” means the naked or undergarment clad genitals, pubic area,
buttocks or female breast;
- publishes” means reproduction in the printed or electronic form and
making it available for public;
- under circumstances violating privacy” means circumstances in which a
person can have a reasonable expectation that:
- he or she could disrobe in privacy, without being concerned that an
image of his private area was being captured; or
- any part of his or her private area would not be visible to the public,
regardless of whether that person is in a public or private place.
- Punishment for cyber terrorism (Sec 66F):
- with intent to threaten the unity, integrity, security or sovereignty of
India or to strike terror in the people or any section of the people by:
- denying or cause the denial of access to any person authorised to access
computer resource; or
- attempting to penetrate or access a computer resource without authorisation or exceeding authorised access; or
- introducing or causing to introduce any Computer Contaminant and by
means of such conduct causes or is likely to cause death or injuries to
persons or damage to or destruction of property or disrupts or knowing that
it is likely to cause damage or disruption of supplies or services essential
to the life of the community or adversely affect the critical information
infrastructure specified under section 70, or
- knowingly or intentionally penetrates or accesses a computer resource
without authorisation or exceeding authorised access, and by means of such
conduct obtains access to information, data or computer database that is
restricted for reasons of the security of the State or foreign relations; or any
restricted information, data or computer database, with reasons to believe that
such information, data or computer database so obtained may be used to cause or
likely to cause injury to the interests of the sovereignty and integrity of
India, the security of the State, friendly relations with foreign States, public
order, decency or morality, or in relation to contempt of court, defamation or
incitement to an offence, or to the advantage of any foreign nation, group of
individuals or otherwise, commits the offence of cyber terrorism.
- Whoever commits or conspires to commit cyber terrorism shall be
punishable with imprisonment which may extend to imprisonment for life’.
- Punishment for publishing or transmitting obscene material in
electronic form ( Sec 67):
Whoever publishes or transmits or causes to be published in the electronic form,
any material which is lascivious or appeals to the prurient interest or if its
effect is such as to tend to deprave and corrupt persons who are likely, having
regard to all relevant circumstances, to read, see or hear the matter contained
or embodied in it, shall be punished on first conviction with imprisonment of
either description for a term which may extend to three years and with fine
which may extend to five lakh rupees and in the event of a second or subsequent
conviction with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend
to five years and also with fine which may extend to ten lakh rupees.
- Punishment for publishing or transmitting of material containing
sexually explicit act, etc. in electronic form (Sec 67A):
Whoever publishes or transmits or causes to be published or transmitted in the
electronic form any material which contains sexually explicit act or conduct
shall be punished on first conviction with imprisonment of either description
for a term which may extend to five years and with fine which may extend to ten
lakh rupees and in the event of second or subsequent conviction with
imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to seven years
and also with fine which may extend to ten lakh rupees.
Exception: This section and section 67 does not extend to any book,
pamphlet, paper, writing, drawing, painting, representation or figure in
the publication of which is proved to be justified as being for the public good
on the ground that such book, pamphlet, paper, writing, drawing, painting,
representation or figure is in the interest of science, literature, art, or
learning or other objects of general concern; or which is kept or used bona fide
for religious purposes.
- Punishment for publishing or transmitting of material depicting children in
sexually explicit act, etc. in electronic form (Sec 67B):
- publishes or transmits or causes to be published or transmitted material
in any electronic form which depicts children engaged in sexually explicit
act or conduct or
- creates text or digital images, collects, seeks, browses, downloads,
advertises, promotes, exchanges or distributes material in any electronic
form depicting children in obscene or indecent or sexually explicit manner
- cultivates, entices or induces children to online relationship with one
or more children for and on sexually explicit act or in a manner that may
offend a reasonable adult on the computer resource or
- facilitates abusing children online or
- records in any electronic form own abuse or that of others pertaining to
sexually explicit act with children,
shall be punished on first conviction with imprisonment of either description
for a term which may extend to five years and with a fine which may extend to
ten lakh rupees and in the event of second or subsequent conviction with
imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to seven years
and also with fine which may extend to ten lakh rupees:
Provided that the provisions of section 67, section 67A and this section
does not extend to any book, pamphlet, paper, writing, drawing, painting,
representation or figure in electronic form:
- The publication of which is proved to be justified as being for the
public good on the ground that such book, pamphlet, paper writing, drawing,
painting, representation or figure is in the interest of science,
literature, art or learning or other objects of general concern; or
- which is kept or used for bonafide heritage or religious purposes
For the purposes of this section, “children” means a person who has
not completed the age of 18 years
These are the offences and the related punishments that are given on the breach
of law as per the Information Technology Act, 2000.
Recent cases related to cyber crime in India:
India ranks 3rd in cyber attacks in the world.
There are many cases relating to
cyber crime in India out of which some of are as follows:
Pune Citibank Mphasis Call Center Fraud
Some ex-employees of BPO arm of MPhasis Ltd Msource defrauded US Customers of
Citibank to the tune of Rs 1.5 crores. It was one of those cyber crime cases
that raised concerns of many kinds including the role of "Data Protection
The crime was obviously committed using "Unauthorized Acces
s" to the "Electronic
Account Space" of the customers. It is therefore firmly within the domain of
ITA-2000 is versatile enough to accommodate the aspects of crime not covered by
ITA-2000 but covered by other statutes since any IPC offence committed with the
use of "Electronic Documents" can be considered as a crime with the use of a
"Written Documents". "Cheating", "Conspiracy", "Breach of Trust", etc. are
therefore applicable in the above case in addition to the section in ITA-2000.
Under ITA-2000 the offence is recognized both under Section 66 and Section 43.
Accordingly, the persons involved are liable for imprisonment and fine as well
as a liability to pay damages to the victims to the maximum extent of Rs 1 crore
per victim for which the "Adjudication Process" can be invoked.
SMC Pneumatics (India) Pvt. Ltd. vs. Jogesh Kwatra
In India's first case of cyber defamation, the High Court of Delhi assumed
jurisdiction over a matter where a corporation's reputation was being defamed
through emails and passed an important ex-parte injunction.
Amongst the many cyber cases in India, in this case, the defendant Jogesh Kwatra
being an employee of the plaintiff company started sending derogatory,
defamatory, obscene, vulgar, filthy and abusive emails to his employers as also
to different subsidiaries of the said company all over the world with the aim to
defame the company and its Managing Director Mr. R K Malhotra. The plaintiff
filed a suit for permanent injunction restraining the defendant from doing his
illegal acts of sending derogatory emails to the plaintiff.
On behalf of the plaintiff, it was contended that the emails sent by the
defendant were distinctly obscene, vulgar, abusive, intimidating, humiliating
and defamatory in nature. Counsel further argued that the aim of sending the
said emails was to malign the high reputation of the plaintiff all over India
and the world. He further contended that the acts of the defendant in sending
the emails had resulted in an invasion of the legal rights of the plaintiff.
Further, the defendant is under a duty not to send the aforesaid emails. It is
pertinent to note that after the plaintiff company discovered the said employee
could be indulging in the matter of sending abusive emails, the plaintiff
terminated the services of the defendant.
After hearing detailed arguments of Counsel for Plaintiff, Hon'ble Judge of the
Delhi High Court passed an ex-parte ad interim injunction, observing that a
prima facie case had been made out by the plaintiff. Consequently, in this cyber
fraud case in India, the Delhi High Court restrained the defendant from sending
derogatory, defamatory, obscene, vulgar, humiliating and abusive emails, either
to the plaintiff or to its sister subsidiaries all over the world, including
their Managing Directors and their Sales and Marketing departments.
Further, Hon'ble Judge also restrained the defendant from publishing, transmitting or
causing to be published any information in the actual world, as also in
cyberspace, which is derogatory or defamatory or abusive.
This order of Delhi High Court assumes tremendous significance as this is the
first time that an Indian Court assumes jurisdiction in a matter concerning
cyber defamation and grants an ex-parte injunction restraining the defendant
from defaming the plaintiff by sending derogatory, defamatory, abusive and
obscene emails either to the plaintiffs or their subsidiaries.
State of Tamil Nadu Vs Suhas Katti
The Case of Suhas Katti is notable for the fact that the conviction was achieved
successfully within a relatively quick time of 7 months from the filing of the
FIR, making it one of the notable cyberlaw cases in India. Considering that
similar cases have been pending in other states for a much longer time, the
efficient handling of the case which happened to be the first case of the
Chennai Cyber Crime Cell going to trial deserves a special mention.
The case is related to the posting of obscene, defamatory and annoying message
about a divorced woman in the Yahoo message group. E-mails were also forwarded
to the victim for information by the accused through a false e-mail account
opened by him in the name of the victim. The posting of the message resulted in
annoying phone calls to the lady in the belief that she was soliciting.
Based on a complaint made by the victim in February 2004, the Police traced the
accused to Mumbai and arrested him within the next few days. The accused was a
known family friend of the victim and was reportedly interested in marrying her.
She, however, married another person. This marriage later ended in divorce, and
the accused started contacting her once again. On her reluctance to marry him,
the accused took up harassment through the Internet.
On 24-3-2004, a Charge Sheet was filed, u/s 67 of the IT Act 2000, 469 and 509
IPC before The Hon'ble Addl. CMM Egmore by citing 18 witnesses and 34 documents
and material objects. The same was taken on file in C.C.NO.4680/2004. On the
prosecution side, 12 witnesses were examined, and entire documents were marked
The Defence argued, in this cyber crime case, that the offending emails would
have been given either by the ex-husband of the complainant or the complainant
herself to implicate the accused as accused alleged to have turned down the
request of the complainant to marry her.
Further, the defence counsel argued that some of the documentary evidence was
not sustainable under Section 65 B of the Indian Evidence Act. However, the
court relied upon the expert witnesses, and other evidence produced before it,
including the witnesses of the Cyber Cafe owners, and came to the conclusion
that the crime was proved.
Ld. Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate, Egmore, delivered the judgement on
5-11-04 as follows: "The accused is found guilty of offences under section 469,
509 IPC and 67 of the IT Act 2000, and the accused is convicted and sentenced
for the offence to undergo RI for 2 years, under 469 IPC, and to pay a fine of
Rs.500/- and for the offence u/s 509 IPC sentenced to undergo 1 year simple
imprisonment and to pay a fine of Rs.500/- and for the offence u/s 67 of the IT
Act 2000 to undergo RI for 2 years and to pay a fine of Rs.4000/-. All sentences
to run concurrently."
The accused paid the fine amount, and he was lodged at Central Prison, Chennai.
This is considered as the first case convicted under section 67 of the
Information Technology Act 2000 in India.
The importance of cyber law in our country is therefore increasing day by day
and with our more dependence on technology, humans need a strict set of laws and
rules that would guarantee their right of privacy being protected from the
Besides the above mentioned case laws, there are many frauds ,small or big that
don’t get reported to the cyber crime department . People sometimes loose a lots
of money because of these kind of crimes and they do not know what action to
take because our knowledge in technology is still in a learning process.
So, in order to protect ourselves from these crimes we must not share anything
too much personal on the internet unless it is completely safe and secured .
Cyber laws are still getting modified for the benefit of public and in the
coming days there will be sufficient laws for the protection of personal data on
Award Winning Article Is Written By: Mr.Soubhratra Bhattacharjee
Authentication No: MA33255002629-12-0321