It's been over a year since the global pandemic began. We're all familiar
with how the new normal looks and feels like. Staying at home and video calling
with friends and relatives and using the internet all day long. However, with
this comes the excessive use of social media by the youth of the country. They
use it for a wide range of purposes, including work, education, shopping,
entertainment, and other requirements.
However, excessive use of social media has a direct impact on cybercrime against
women in the country. People are forming relationships online when they are on
lockdown, and there have been reports of sextortion. Akancha Foundation, an
organization that works for the education and empowerment of people by imparting
knowledge on cyber safety, received a total of 412 genuine complaints of cyber
abuse in the month of April 2020 itself when the nationwide lockdown
began. As a result, the question arises as to what rights women have in India
when it comes to cybercrime?
Examining the law
Examining the current legal provisions that can be used to deal with an events
like sharing of obscene or morphed photos & videos becomes essential. An
examination of the sections of various Acts that may apply to the these offences
will be beneficial in understanding the application of the laws. Many cases
involving cybercrime against women are covered by sections 66E, 67, 67A, and 67B
of the IT Act, as well as sections 354D, 465, 471, 499, 500, and 509 of the
Indian Penal Code. In addition, if the girl is a minor, sections 14 and 15 of
the Protection of Children from Sexual Offenses (POCSO) Act, 2012 apply.
Section 66E in The Information Technology Act, 2000
This section talks about the capturing, publishing or transmitting the image of
a person's private area without their consent, in circumstances violating that
person's privacy, the person is punishable by imprisonment up to three years or
a fine of up to two lakh rupees, or both. The right to privacy was declared a
fundamental right in the landmark case of Justice K. S. Puttaswamy (Retd.) and
Anr. V. Union of India and Ors. The right to privacy is protected under the
Right to Life in Part III of the Indian Constitution.
Section 67 in The Information Technology Act, 2000
This section covers transmitting or publishing of obscene material in electronic
form. Obscene material is herein described as “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”. The first conviction carries a sentence of up to
three years in prison and a fine of up to five lakh rupees, with subsequent
convictions carrying a sentence of up to five years in prison and a fine of up
to ten lakh rupees.
Section 67A in The Information Technology Act, 2000
This section deals with the publishing or transmitting of material containing
sexually explicit act, etc., in electronic form. The first conviction carries a
sentence of up to five years in prison and a fine of up to ten lakh rupees, with
subsequent convictions carrying a sentence of up to seven years in prison and a
fine of up to ten lakh rupees.
Section 67B in The Information Technology Act, 2000
This section deals with publishing or transmitting of material depicting
children in sexually explicit act, etc., in electronic form.
The first conviction carries a sentence of up to five years in prison and a fine
of up to ten lakh rupees, with subsequent convictions carrying a sentence of up
to seven years in prison and a fine of up to ten lakh rupees.
Section 354D in The Indian Penal Code, 1860
This section deals with stalking. Cyber stalking is when a person, a group of
individuals, or an entity uses information and communication technologies to
threaten one or more people. Cyber stalking is an online threat in which the
victim and the cyber stalker have no clear connection. About 75 percent of the
victims are thought to be women. Sexual abuse, an obsession with passion,
vengeance and hatred, and ego and power trips are all key motivators. Stalking
is a criminal offence punishable by up to three years in jail and a fine under
section 354 D of the Indian Penal Code.
Section 463, 465 & 471 in The Indian Penal Code, 1860
S.463 deals with forgery, Whoever makes any false documents or false electronic
record or part of a document or electronic record, with intent to cause damage
or injury commits forgery. Forgery is punishable by either imprisonment of any
description for a period up to two years, a fine, or both. Section 471 also
punishes the use of forged documents or electronic records as authentic, and it
is punishable in the same way as forging a document.
Making a false electronic record would include morphing the photographs.
Section 499 & 500 in The Indian Penal Code, 1860
Section 499 of the Indian Penal Code prohibits making or publishing allegedly
defamatory remarks about an individual in the form of other words, writings, or
visible representations with the intent to damage the person's reputation. As a
result, men's motivation to damage someone's reputation is a pre-requisite for
an offence under this clause. If the victims so desire, they may bring a case
under this clause. Defamation is punishable under Section 500 IPC by simple
imprisonment for a period of up to two years, a fine, or both.
Where Can I File A Complaint?
A individual who has been victimised by cyber defamation can file a complaint
with the Cyber Crime Investigation Cell. The Criminal Investigation Department's
Cyber Crime Investigation Cell is a division of the department (CID). Many
cities, have developed Cyber Crime Investigation Cells. Offenses involving
computers, computer networks, compute resources, computer systems, computer
devices, and the Internet are investigated by the Cyber Crime Investigation
Cells. It also has the authority to investigate such high-tech crimes. In
addition, several states have now made arrangements for the filing of a E-FIR
The amount of traffic in the cyber world is growing every day, and so are the
chances of becoming a victim. At times, women are a soft target or more
vulnerable to men. The rate of crime is rising every day, and every day, a woman
is trolled, stalked, or threatened on an online platform. The government has
enacted legislation to curb violence, but these laws must be reviewed on a
regular basis. The other thing to remember is that women must be careful as
They should be careful when posting something on social media and cautious when
adding people on social media sites or giving out their phone numbers. Not only
women, but also men, would be protected from such activities if such precautions
are taken. When using the internet, we can all be more disgusting and
painstaking. We will become more vulnerable the more time we spend online
without understanding the dangers of this planet
- Press Trust of India, 'Significant' increase in cybercrime against women
during lockdown: Experts, NDTV (May 11, 2021, 3:46 PM),
- Justice K. S. Puttaswamy (Retd.) and Anr. V. Union of India and Ors.,
AIR 2017 SC 4161
- Information Technology Act, 2000, § 67, No. 21, Acts of Parliament, 2000
- Information Technology Act, 2000, § 67A, No. 21, Acts of Parliament,
- Information Technology Act, 2000, § 67B, No. 21, Acts of Parliament,
- Indian Penal Code, 1860, §354D, No. 45, Acts of Parliament, 1860
- Indian Penal Code, 1860, §463, 465 & 471, No. 45, Acts of Parliament,
- Indian Penal Code, 1860, §499 & 500, No. 45, Acts of Parliament, 1860