C Y B E R S A A T H I

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LEGAL REMEDIES FOR CYBERBULLYING

A classical and movie playback singer is persistently trolled online. Multiple Twitter handles are used to make threats, insults and personal attacks not just against the singer but also against her mother. Attempts to stop this online bullying only resulted in an increased attack.

TV anchors, writers and social activists are most commonly targeted with cyberbullying online. “I know where you live”; “I will find you and rape you”; “I will find you and cut you into pieces”; “We will arrange for you to be gang raped and video graph it and share it online”; are some instances of online threats made by bullies emboldened by assumed online anonymity.

The PEW Research Centre’s Study lists women as the higher percentage of victims of online cyber bullying than men. (Refer Nappinai N. S. (2017). “Tackling Women’s Digital Freedoms & Unfreedoms Online”. IT For Change.

Online attacks become more vicious and scary, when used against children. Words, dissociated from any form of personal connect, including common and casual terms such as “nerd” or “idiot” or “stupid” take on sinister tones on digital spaces. This is not just on social media platforms online but more so on chat apps such as Whatsapp, Instagram and Snapchat. The more worrisome trend is that in many instances the offences are committed by children or youngsters. 

Cyber bullying is NOT a “joke”. It is not “parody” or “satire”. It is definitely NOT a “prank”.

Stop cyber bullying – it could be your friend, relative, including your child, who is the victim or the bully.

SPREAD THE MESSAGE: Cyber bullying is an offense. An adult or child can ruin their future by indulging in such acts. Online does not mean anonymous. They can be traced and the law can be invoked irrespective of where they are, if the victim is in India or even if the offence is committed in India against a victim outside India.

If you are a victim of cyberbullying or know someone who is a victim, there are many sections that may be invoked to protect your rights including under the Indian Penal Code, 1860 (“IPC”) and / or under Information Technology Act, 2000 (as amended) (“IT Act”). For instance, you may invoke IPC offences of anonymous Criminal intimidation S.507 or outraging modesty of women under S.509 IPC. If the bullying involves obscene or sexually explicit content Sections 67 / 67A of IT Act may also be invoked. If such bullying leads to personal / physical harm depending on the gravity further IPC offences may be invoked. These are only indicative and depending on the type or form of cyber bullying various Criminal provisions may be invoked. Cyber bullies can also be tracked – the false sense of anonymity that cyber bullies seem to depend on is mostly, a myth.

Do not hesitate to seek legal remedies. You can submit your complaint online on cybercrime.gov.in  do not believe you are at fault when you are bullied. Seek justice and ensure that bullies do not harm you or others. Be A Cyber Saathi!

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Cyber Saathi

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