In today’s age of technology, the internet and social media have become inseparable part of our lives. However, its increasing use has given rise to a number of crimes in cyberspace. One such crime is cyberbullying which means to bully someone online using digital devices such as mobiles, computers/laptops or tablets via messaging, SMS, social media platforms or any online groups where people can share and exchange messages.
Sharing or posting inappropriate and harmful misinformation about someone has been made an offense under the Information Technology Act, 2000, The Indian Penal Code, 1860 and The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012.
Under IT Act, Section 66 talks about computer related offences and S. 66 C deals with punishment for identity theft, S. 66D deals with the punishment of cheating by personation using the computer or online resources, S. 66E deals with the punishment of violation of a person’s privacy, S. 67 talks about publishing or transmitting obscene material in any electronic form along with S. 67A which also consists of sexually explicit act and lastly, S. 67B which talks about the publishing of such materials in electronic form depicting children- which can be excused if it is for public good and learning or is kept or used for bona fide heritage or religious purposes.
Under IPC, S. 292A talks about printing of indecent matter or matter for blackmail, S. 354A talks about sexual harassment or unwelcome physical contact or of the nature of making sexually colored remark or demand/request for sexual favors of pornography.
POCSO act also protects the children below the age of 18 years from any sexual harassment, pornography or sexual assault which would include any form of cyber-bullying punishable under the act.
The following are the steps an individual can take to file a complaint against the above-mentioned cybercrimes-
Step 1– Complaining about a person who has committed a cybercrime with the cyber police or Cyber Cell India is the very first and most important step. Various units have been set up by cybercrime cells to investigate crimes committed in different cities. These divisions not only investigate crimes, but also take responsibility for receiving timely reported crime.
The victim can lodge a complaint at any time under Section 154 of CrPC as “Zero FIR” or through the Cyber Cell or the Cyber Cell’s Crime Investigation Division either offline or online through the National Cyber Crime Reporting Portal at cybercrime.gov.in
One can also call the Cyber Crime Helpline number – 155260 (India).
Step 2 – When filing a complaint, the name, mailing address and telephone number along with the application form is to be sent to the head of the Cyber Crime Investigation Cell.
Step 3 – One will need to provide some documents to file a complaint. The list of documents varies with the type of cybercrime. When filing a complaint, case-by-case documents must be attached, which fully support the facts of the case. The types of documents that need to be attached when filing a cybercrime complaint depend on the nature of the cybercrime.
The awareness about such provisions and the actions has become a necessity due to the changing times.