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Judicial Outloook For Cyberbullying: Present Need

In the present world of technology, we are used to hearing that somebody hacked the profile or made a profile of someone using his/her details and sent some vulgar or derogatory messages, all such activities come under the wide ambit of cyberbullying. Supreme court had laid down various landmark judgements with the new provisions regarding the issues of cyberbullying, the court had given guidelines for different activities and types of cyberbullying as in this technological world every day some new activities come up.

This is now not only a problem but with time had become a trauma for children and youngsters of the county which not only impacts their social lives but the whole lives as it leads to depression, distress and any mental health issues.

Cyberbullying is been defined in different ways by different experts but in conclusion, it can be defined as an aggressive, intentional act or behaviour that is carried out by a group or an individual, using electronic forms of contact, repeatedly and over-time against a victim who cannot easily defend him or herself. The most common form of cyberbullying in India includes sharing some of the personal information with a third person with fraudulent intent. In cyberbullying, it becomes difficult for the victim to trace the bully as the bully uses the identity of the victim and so bullies own identity remains hidden.

The use of the social platform by the youngsters and children of our nation is far more than ever and thus because of such high usage with proper knowledge out of every 4 children are been bullied and a total of 43% of children are facing cyberbullying. While in 2012 a survey was conducted by Microsoft in 25 countries, India ranked 3rd in online bullying cases. Besides all the social platforms, Facebook is the only platform where 70% of online bullying happens.

Current Scenarios
There is no downfall in the cases of cyberbullying in India, due to higher and continuous usage of social platforms there is a huge increase in the cases in present times. The reported no. of cases is not proportionate to the actual no. of cases, due to fear most of the children don't share such happenings with their elder ones which gives rise to such cases. As per the survey conducted by the National Crime Records Bureau, there is a 36% increase in cases of cyberstalking and cyberbullying cases in India.

Cyberbullying covers a wide range of activities, from posting embarrassing photos of a person to putting tags that can be insulting or making fake profiles and defaming a person by posting. Confession pages are something which is in trend nowadays, such confession pages allow people to post anything about anybody and where the identity of the person who confesses is kept hidden from the world, which promotes such persons to confess anything and everything.

Among youngsters it is one the common thing to be done, and they find it a way to tell or post anything and everything thing they wish to as their real identity is hidden from the world and thus can do all such postings without any fear, and such remarks create a huge impact on the person's mental health on whom the remark is made.


Ritu Koli Case

It was the first registered case of cyberstalking in 2001 where Ritu Koli complained that a person who was using her identity to chat over an internet site was giving her number to another person and also encouraging them to call Ritu Koli at odd hours. She received national as well as an international call within 3 days, the case was registered under section 509 of IPC. This case was an alarming case for the government because there was no mention of the conditions i.e., on cell phones that happened with Ritu Koli and thus waked up the government, to make laws regarding such crimes for the protection of victims.

Rithika Sharma Case

A student of Delhi school filed a complaint to police after she was stalked on Facebook, she had given her contact details to a man who was using fake I'd. Cybercriminals often connect with them by sending friend requests on Facebook and the person on the other side becomes excited and takes more interest and thus all the ill intentions of the cyberstalkers are completed, says Delhi police. Such cases were at their peak so to curb this Delhi police launched safety awareness programmes in schools to make everyone aware of such incidents.

Legal Provisions
As such there are no specific laws regarding cyberbullying in India but as it leaves scars for a lifetime and to cope with such injuries after the amendment of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 in 2013 there are some laws that can be referred while dealing with cases of cyberbullying.

The sections which deal with this are:
  • Section 499, defamation
  • Section 292A, matters intended to blackmail
  • Section 354A, sexual harassment
  • Section 354D, stalking
  • Section 509, word or act resulting insult of a woman
  • Though it is not easy for any victim to cope up with such bullies still l some legal provisions to provide relief to the victim are there. The Information Technology Amendment Act also provides remedies for cyberbullying.

The main provisions regarding cyberbullying are:
  • Section 507 IPC:
    The section states that if anyone receives criminal intimidation by way of an anonymous communication then the person giving threats shall be punished with imprisonment for up to two years. Under word anonymous the offence of anti-bullying and cyberbullying is included in this section.
  • Section 66 E of IT Act:
    The section states the punishment for violation of privacy. The section states that any person who intentionally violates privacy by transmitting, capturing or publishing private pictures of others shall be punished with up to three years imprisonment or a fine of up to three lakhs.

With the ground techno world, if no solid steps are taken for controlling cyberbullying, then this will create a huge problem over the internet. Cyberbullying not only affects the social life of the victim but it mentally affects and sometimes this can also lead to suicidal situations. Lawmakers should make some strict provisions by keeping all the points in consideration.

It is a two-way sward, along with the legal provision the youngster and children must be aware of the usage of internet and such situation and also should be aware of the precautions and remedies that are available with, they need to be more attentive while using social media platforms.

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