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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 

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.

UN Convention on Illicit Organ Trading – Need of the Hour

Current status:

Illicit organ trafficking at a global level has turned into a lucrative market and unfortunately, this is a lesser discussed form of human trafficking. In 1991, the WHO’s guiding principles on organ transplantation were approved at the 44th World Health Assembly. In 2004, the World Health Assembly issued a resolution for all WHO member states to prohibit transplant tourism.  Further, it called for international cooperation through guidelines for ethical organ procurement based on suitability and safety. It also emphasized the need for cooperation from national oversight committees to ensure implementation. 

However, there is no organized body or all-encompassing piece of legislation or convention that deals with this menace at the international front. It is imperative for both developed and developing countries to formulate a systematized method to curb illicit organ trade.

Council of Europe Convention against Trafficking in Human Organs: 

The UN as of now has no convention in place whereas the European Union in 2015 introduced the above mentioned convention which was the first ever organ trafficking treaty signed by 14 European nations including Britain, Italy, etc. The purpose of the convention is to prevent and combat trafficking in human organs by providing for criminalization of certain acts.  The convention establishes criminal penalties on the non- consensual removal of organs and removal of organs for financial gain from or by the deceased donors. 

Illicit Organ Trade & the Sustainable Development Goals:

Among the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, the introduction of a convention banning illicit trade will further the aim of the 3rd SDG which is to provide good health and well-being of all. It will also address the issue of poverty, a major factor contributing in such illicit trade which is the 1st SDG namely, eradication of poverty. Moreover, banning illicit trade is essential to promote inclusive, sustainable economic growth and decent work for all which is the 8th SDG. 

Combating illicit organ trade is a lengthy  process but an internationally adopted convention is the first step for achieving it. 

Rise in Domestic Violence – A Consequence of Covid-19

In this article the author would be focussing on the rise in domestic violence cases with respect to women during the Pandemic.

The whole world has suffered a major crisis and is continuously fighting the Covid-19 crisis. People across the globe are facing huge repercussions due to it; be it political, social, professional, or economical. The governments have taken a lot of precautions to contain the spread of the virus. Many countries, including India, had announced nationwide lockdown as a precautionary measure. India has gone through some rigorous conditions in the past few months.

Though these tough steps taken by the government are understandable and essential for the benefit of people in general, the suffrage of one section of our society has been overlooked. This section has simultaneously suffered from another pandemic, namely Domestic Violence[i]. Due to this, women have been the most affected victims.

This is seen to be a fact not just at a national level but internationally too. On 6 April 2020, the United Nations Secretary called for a ‘ceasefire’ to address the ‘horrifying global surge in domestic violence.’ Since the pandemic, the cases of violence against women are exponentially rising at the global level. The UN reported that Lebanon and Malaysia received a double amount of helpline calls compared to the same month previous year; in China it tripled. In Australia, there was the highest number of google searches for domestic violence help in the past five years.[ii] Similarly, the imposition of lockdown in India led to the same unfortunate consequences.India’s National Commission for Women (NCW) on Friday said it registered 587 domestic violence complaints between March 23 and April 16 – a significant surge from 396 complaints received in the previous 25 days between February 27 and March 22.[iii] This is only the tip of the iceberg as there are a huge number of domestic violence cases going unreported.

Causes of the surge in cases

It is not possible to point out only one reason for the surge in cases as several factors play a role in it. According to Sociologist Marianne Hester, “domestic violence goes up whenever families spend more time together, such as the Christmas and summer vacations.”[iv] The lockdown laid the perfect circumstances for this and as an unfortunate consequence an increase was seen in the instances of domestic violence.

One of the significant reasons for the increase in cases is that India has always followed a patriarchal system, where women are mostly subdued by men. This gender and role discrimination has placed all the burden of domestic work on women. Domestic Work is generally referred to as “women’s work”. Generally female members look after the household chores and the imposition of lockdown has resulted in an increase in workload for her. Many women were put in the position of single-handedly managing their professional work along with the household chores; thereby overburdening them.[v] Now, in these circumstances, if they cause any inconvenience or fail to do something, they are exposed to violence.

The data provided of domestic violence does not show the real picture of this horrifying act as numerous cases go unreported. This is because many women fail to come forward to seek help and suffer in silence. They are clouded by an orthodox ideology or sometimes are even silenced by their family members in order to maintain the honour of the family. Retrieving help from anyone outside becomes impossible for some women who may not have access to relatives, police or any NGOs via mobile phones as many women do not even have mobile phones. They are left in misery being caged with the abusers.[vi]

According to the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy, the overall unemployment rate may have surged to 23 per cent, with urban unemployment standing at nearly 31 per cent, amid the countrywide lockdown due to coronavirus outbreak.[vii] This scenario suggests the vulnerability of people and their helplessness due to loss of livelihood. The frustration of loss of income and to manage the expenditures of family, especially for males, makes them exert violence on their partners. It is worse if the female spouse is unemployed.[viii]

Another important aspect is that after the 40 days of lockdown, the government had opened the liquor shops as a first step towards easing the restrictions. The government had also levied a special corona tax of 70 percent on alcohol in some places amid concerns of lost revenue.[ix] This in turn magnified the already deteriorated conditions as many men increased their alcohol consumption, thereby increasing domestic violence. This not only added to the financial burden but also towards an increase in abuse against women. So many cases were reported where husbands in an intoxicated state had physically assaulted their wives and children.[x] In doing so, the state somewhere prioritized earning revenue rather than safeguarding the women and children.

According to UNICEF 20 million babies will be born in India till the end of this year.[xi] India also noted a surge of porn usage and sale of condoms.[xii] Women might have been exposed to domestic violence in the form of sexual harassment or marital rape – which unfortunately is not a crime in India.[xiii] In the isolated circumstances created by the lockdown, it is easy for the perpetrators to take undue advantage and shatter their domestic life.

Steps taken by the Government

The government has failed to take any major and significant measures, however, there are few things that governments have done. For e.g. Delhi Commission for Women has set up a helpline number (181) to combat violence and trauma during the pandemic that one can reach out to.[xiv] In UP, the state government has initiated a special helpline for victims of domestic abuse under the title `Suppress Corona, not your voice’.[xv] But as mentioned above some women don’t even have access to communicate or seek help. In such a situation they are left without any solution.

In Tamil Nadu, protection officers have been appointed under the Domestic Violence Act, 2005. They are given permission to move during the lockdown and some women have been rescued. The chairperson of NCW claimed that ASHA and Anganwadi and other frontline health workers are counselling against domestic violence and women can report to these workers in case they are facing abuse.

No doubt that the governments are trying their best even in these tough times to protect and safeguard the victims, however, the measures taken are not sufficient. The government should conduct campaigns to make citizens aware of domestic violence. It should ask citizens to be sensitive towards the increased damage of domestic violence and encourage them to intervene if they suspect abuse, using tactics such as the banging on the door or ringing the bell. In countries like France and Spain codewords such as ‘mask 19’ are used as an indication when women are being abused.[xvi]


Family is considered as a place where one secures love, solace, safety, and security but for some women, it has become a place of insecurity and violence. Women are being abused and tortured by their very own family and instead of receiving love and respect, they are forced to bear humiliation and violence without uttering a single word. Thus, to establish a safe and secure society for women, a lockdown should be imposed on the orthodox thinking of people. For creating a better and safe environment for women, governments should implement stringent laws and take all precautionary measures. They should also set up new mechanisms to safeguard women as much as possible.

[i] Section 3, The Protection of Women From Domestic Violence Act, 2005, No. 43 of 2005

[ii] UN News, UN chief calls for domestic violence ‘ceasefire’ amid ‘horrifying global surge’, April 6, 2020. Available at:

[iii] Locked down with abusers: India sees surge in domestic violence, Aljazeera, April 18, 2020.

[iv] COVID-19, Domestic Abuse and Violence: Where Do Indian Women Stand?, EPW Engage, April 17, 2020 Available at:

[v] Divya J Shekhar, What the Covid-19 lockdown tells us about the gender gap in house-work, Forbes India, March 30, 2020 05:39:41 PM Available at:

[vi] Arjun Kumar, Balwant Singh Mehta, Simi Mehta, The link between lockdown, COVID-19, and domestic violence, April 17, 2020

[vii] Coronavirus fallout: Unemployment rate spikes to 23% after lockdown, says CMIE, Business Today, April 7, 2020.

[viii] Schneider D., Harknett K., McLanahan S., Intimate partner violence in the great recession. Demography. 2016;53(2):471–505. Available at:

[ix] Delhi imposes 70% ‘corona’ tax on alcohol after crowding at shops, The Guardian, May 5, 2020.

[x]  Romita Saluja, India’s resumption of alcohol sales during lockdown is fuelling a rise in domestic violence, SCMP, May 20, 2020, 7:30pm. Available at:

[xi] Coronavirus: Health system overload threatens pregnant women and newborns, UN News, May 7, 2020.

[xii] Sonil Dedhia, Coronavirus outbreak: Condom sales in India go through the roof, Hindustan Times, Mar 24, 2020.

[xiii] Laxmi Garg, Marital Rape During COVID Pandemic Available at: Marital Rape During COVID Pandemic

[xiv]Ayushree Nandan, Is domestic violence the next pandemic in India?, TOI, May 21, 2020.. 

[xv] Panicker Lalita, The Lockdown is making women more vulnerable, The Hindustan Times, April 4, 2020.

[xvi] Ivana Kottasová and Valentina Di Donato, Women are using code words at pharmacies to escape domestic violence during lockdown, CNN, April 6, 2020.


Labour, a subject under the Concurrent list is witnessing several changes. Recently, the Parliament passed three bills, namely- 

1. Industrial Relations Code Bill, 

2. Social Security Code Bill,

3. Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions Code Bill.

These Codes bring about several reforms and aim at consolidating various existing laws on the above subject matter.

The first bill combines three erstwhile legislations- The Trade Unions Act, 1926, Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Act, 1946 and The Industrial Disputes Act, 1947.

It brings notable changes and expands the definitions of several terms such as Industry, Industrial Dispute, Strike, Worker, Employer etc. The earlier threshold of 100 workers for the framing and applying of Standing Orders for matters listed in the Schedule to the Code has been increased to 300 workers. Matters relating to retrenchment, lay-offs and closure do not require permission of the government in establishments with more than 300 workers. The Code further prohibits strikes in all industrial establishments without prior notice of 14 days as opposed to the earlier legislations that limited this to public utilities. This provision has been vehemently criticized by Trade Unions across the country.

The second bill combines nine central legislations and empowers the Central Government to, by notification, apply the provisions of this Code to any establishment. The Code mandates registration and setting up of security funds for unorganized (home-based or self-employed or persons working in the unorganized sector), gig (delivery persons) and platform workers by Central and State Governments.

It makes provisions applicable in times of epidemics to reduce or defer employee/employer’s contributions under PF and ESI for up to three months. This bill too revises and expands certain definitions such as wages, inter-state migrant workers etc. Aadhaar ID has been made mandatory for availing the benefits provided under this Code.

With reference to the third bill, the earlier thresholds requiring a minimum number of workers have been changed in case of factories, contractors and hazardous activities. It fixes the maximum daily work hours at 8 hours per day. Further, it allows women to be employed in all establishments by following necessary safeguards as opposed to the earlier legislations that disallowed them from working in certain dangerous or hazardous operations. The code provides certain benefits for interstate migrant workers and mandates Central and State Governments to maintain databases and record their details on a portal.

The above-mentioned bills now await Presidential assent.


Two new bills relating to agriculture and farmers were introduced in June and were passed by Rajya Sabha on 23rd September 2019. Those agricultural bills are- 

  1. 1. The Farmer’s Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation Ordinance, 2020)
  2. 2. The Farmer’s (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm. 

These bills will impact the farmers, the consumers, the state and the middlemen established in the APMC system. 

The Farmer’s Produce Trade and Commerce bill aims to create an ecosystem where the farmers are free to sell their produce wherever and to whomever they want to, which directly paves way for the establishment of inter and intra state trade of farmers produce. The same is protected under the second bill as mentioned above which makes rules and regulations for empowering farmers to trade with various businesses and wholesalers. 

However, it doesn’t repeal or replace the previously established system which is under the Agriculture and Produce Marketing Committee Act. Hence, the bill is creating a choice for the farmers to carry out their trade on their will. 

In the previous APMC act, the farmer had to go through the “Mandis” as established in the act after which the commission agents would take their produce for traders to auction and purchase. The auction has to necessarily start at the Minimum Support Price which is decided by the Government of India. This price is decided for certain products only and this provision has not been repealed in the new ecosystem. The commission agents collect a market fee, cess and other taxes which are then collected by the State Governments which forms a huge part of their revenue. 

These bills address the issue of monopoly established by the traders through APMC. But the problem or difficulty with the bill is that it will be beneficial only if implemented effectively and if practiced by the farmers; given that they are aware of the same. Educating farmers about their rights and making them aware is an important part of the implementation process. 

Apart from that, the removal of middlemen will definitely benefit the consumers since the products will be comparatively cheaper. 

However, this bill will largely affect the State Revenue since they will not be receiving any taxes in the new ecosystem. Even though the bill aims to benefit the farmers, the view of the states was not considered appropriately and the states were not even given a fair participation in the Rajya Sabha where they protested against the bill.

A potential solution to that could be that the bills be introduced to a Select Committee which consisted of agricultural experts and the opposition being given a chance to be heard.

In that manner, the bill could have been speculated so as to benefit all and be compatible with the federal structure of the constitution and thereby upheld the democratic process of making a legislation.

Media Trial

Miss. Stuti Ladia, Mumbai University.

Media has been regarded as one of the four pillars of democracy. It has a crucial role in molding and shaping the opinion of the society. It has the ability to change the opinions and points of view of the masses.

Media Trials take place when the media takes cases into their own hands by declaring the accused as convicts even before the constitutional courts have given their decision. There have been cases where, due to the wrath of the media, the decision of the court has been affected.  A few examples if this being Jessica lal case, the Priyadarshini Mattoo case, the Bijal Joshi rape case, etc. It is the widespread coverage of guilt of the accused and imposing a certain perception about him regardless of any verdict given by the court. Wherever there has been high publicity, the media has involved itself and used hysteria to create an undue importance among the viewers, making it difficult for the trial to be fair and just. There have however been reasons as to why the attention of the media around certain cases is sensationally high. The reasons are:

  1. Cases that involve children or they could be so horrific or gruesome that the media considers it necessary to sensationalize such cases. 
  2. The case could be of a leading celebrity; either as a victim or as an accused. Cases where celebrities are involved involuntarily attract media thereby influencing their fans.

The history of media trials goes back to the 20th Century. This term was coined recently; however, its meaning was derived from the case of Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle, 1921. In this case the accused was acquitted by the court but he had lost his reputation and job after the media had declared him guilty. Another famous case of media trial is the Trial of O.J. Simpson, 1995. In this particular case, the media had promoted the case and influenced the mind of the viewers. K. M. Nanavati v. State of Maharashtra also falls under the same umbrella. In this case as well, the media had played a crucial role in portraying its opinion and guiding people’s minds in a direction it sought fit. It is mostly the media’s coverage and its opinion of a case which  reflects the views of a commoner- people on the street. This is because the media acts as a bridge between the cases and the people.

Media Trials – Constitutional rights: 

Freedom of press and independence of judiciary are essential in a democracy. The question of how constitutional a media trial is depends on the effect it has on the society and public at large. 

Freedom of Speech and Expression.

As per Article 19 of the Constitution of India we have a right to freedom. Freedom of speech and expression is guaranteed under Article 19(1). It gives people the right to have their opinion however it also has a set of restrictions and boundaries.

Even though the Supreme Court of India has covered and given the status of freedom under Article 19 there have been cases where the Supreme court has restricted them of the same if the rights have been misused or it has hampered the public at large and has gone against the Rule of Law.

These are a few landmark cases on trial by Media.

  1. In the case of In re P.C. Sen v. Unknown, 1968 an appeal had been filed against the order of the High Court of Calcutta declaring that a speech broadcast on the night of November 25, 1965, on the Calcutta Station of the All India Radio by Mr. P. C. Sen- the then Chief Minister of West Bengal, was calculated to obstruct the course of justice and on that account amounted to contempt of court and the conduct of Mr. Sen merited disapproval. It was then concluded by Justice Shah that any act that is done to bring down the authority of court or any other act which is committed to bring down the proceeding of law would be termed as contempt of court.
  1. In Sushil Sharma v. The State (Delhi Administration and Ors.) there was hardly any evidence against the accused for murdering his partner; even then the media took the case in its hands and even before the court could pass any judgment, it portrayed the accused guilty; changing the opinion of the public. It was then declared by the High Court of Delhi that the person who had been accused, his fate would solely depend on the evidence and facts presented before the court and not due to the influence of the media and its portrayal of the accused.

Restrictions imposed on Media.

Restrictions on media is a dicey concept as the restriction should not be rigid which would curtail the powers of the media in a significant amount nor should it be lenient that it can be misused conveniently. In accordance with the Constitution of India, where Article 19 provides freedom on the other hand in Article 19(2) the Constitution also has reasonable restrictions. Thus, it is the constitutional responsibility of the courts to ensure that such restrictions do not go beyond the ambit of the reasonable restrictions as mentioned in the Constitution of India.     

To regulate the powers of the press, the Press Council of India was established. It has had an effective role in regulating the powers of the press to prevent it from publishing defamatory and  prejudiced content. Through this way when the content is presented in front of the viewers it does not go against the law and does not influence the society negatively.   


From the article above, it can be concluded that media trial has more of a negative impact than positive. The content published by them needs to be strictly monitored and the courts need to regulate media in a way that democracy and freedom are neither hampered, nor misused. It should be kept in consideration that the media is a voice which is the fourth pillar for the sole purpose that it can benefit the society and not hamper an innocent’s reputation and misguide the public.  

Maratha Community’s Plea under SEBC placed before a Constitutional Bench.

Recently, the Supreme Court passed a stay order against operation of the Socially and Educationally Backward Classes (SEBC) Act, passed by the State of Maharashtra in 2018. The Act provides a 16% quota to the Maratha community in both- education and government employment. Subsequently, this increased the aggregate quota of all reservations allowed in Maharashtra; hence crossing the 50% limit. This is in contravention to the landmark judgement of the SC in Indira Sawhney v. UOI in 1993 that had put a 50% ceiling on reservation by individual states and stated that the same could be exceeded only in “exceptional and extraordinary circumstances”.

Subsequently, a plea was filed against this in the Bombay High Court. A three judge bench upheld the validity of the reservation to the Maratha community but capped the same at 12% for education and 13% for employment. This too exceeded the 50% cap. The same was challenged in the Apex Court through an appeal in case of Jaishri Laxmanrao Patil v. The Chief Minister. A three judge bench of the Supreme Court along with passing of the stay order and referring the issue to a Constitution Bench of five or more judges for final adjudication observed the following:

1.  There is a need for reconsideration of the Judgement of the Court in Indira Sawhney v. UOI and whether exceeding the 50% cap is constitutionally valid.

2. The said issue required an interpretation of the Constitution (102nd Amendment) Act, 2018 as this helps determine the competence of the State Legislature to declare a particular caste to be socially and educationally backward.

3. The court clarified that the said stay order was not to affect those that had already availed the benefits of the SEBC Act. 

The case is to be placed before CJI SA Bobde, who shall decide on the constitution of the larger bench.