Invention of the internet the life of a common has changed. The internet has provided to interact with the people worldwide. It has brought the world closer to every man who has access to it. It has proved to be repository of the enormous information which a common man could not access easily. It has also given new dimensions to business and trade. Social networking, entertainment, shopping, job hunt, recruitment, you name anything and its possible via the medium of internet. The widespread use of internet has also given a new face to the crime and a new medium to the bad elements to commit crime. Cyberspace is a technical term used for the electronic medium of computer networks, in which online communication takes place. It comes alive only when two or more computers are networked together. The term has a very wide meaning and is not only restricted to the internet but also includes computers, computer networks, the internet, data, software etc. The crimes that are committed by using the computer as an instrument, or a target or a mean for perpetuating further crimes falls within the definition of cyber crime. Cyber law is the law that governs the crimes committed within the cyberspace. Cyber Defamation is also a cyber crime.
The term defamation is used to define the injury that is caused to the reputation of a person in the eyes of a third person. The injury can be done by words oral or written, or by signs or by visible representations. The intention of the person making the defamatory statement must be to lower the reputation of the person against whom the statement has been made in the eyes of the general public. Cyber defamation is a new concept but the traditional definition of the term defamation is application to the cyber defamation as it involves defamation of a person through a new and a virtual medium. Cyber defamation is publishing of defamatory material against another person with the help of computers or internet. If someone publishes some defamatory statement about some other person on a website or send emails containing defamatory material to other persons with the intention to defame the other person about whom the statement has been made would amount to cyber defamation. The harm caused to a person by publishing a defamatory statement about him on a website is widespread and irreparable as the information is available to the entire world. Cyber defamation affects the welfare of the community as a whole and not merely of the individual victim. It also has its impact on the economy of a country depending upon the information published and the victim against whom the information has been published. The following are mediums by which offense of cyber defamation can be committed:
World Wide Web
Mailing lists and bulletin boards
There are two broad category of case falling under cyber defamation:
The first category involves the cases in which the liability is of the primary publishers of the defamatory material, e.g. web site content providers, e-mail authors etc;
The second category involves the cases involving the liability of the internet service providers or bulletin board operators.
STATUTORY PROVISIONS GOVERNING CYBER DEFAMATION IN INDIA
INDIAN PENAL CODE, 1860
The Indian Penal Code, 1860 contains provisions to deal with the menace of cyber defamation. 1. Section 499 of IPC:
Section 499 of IPC says that whoever, by words either spoken or intended to be read, or by signs or by visible representations, makes or publishes any imputation concerning any person intending to harm, or knowing or having reason to believe that such imputation will harm, the reputation of such person, is said, except in the cases hereinafter excepted, to defame that person.
The offence of defamation is punishable under Section 500 of IPC with a simple imprisonment up to 2 years or fine or both.
The law of defamation under Section 499 got extended to "Speech" and "Documents" in electronic form with the enactment of the Information Technology Act, 2000.
2. Section 469 of IPC:
Section 469 of IPC says that whoever commits forgery, intending that the document or electronic record forged shall harm the reputation of any party, or knowing that it is likely to be used for that purpose shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three years and shall also be liable to fine.
The phrase “intending that the document forged” under Section 469 was replaced by the phrase “intending that the document or electronic record forged” vide the Information and Technology Act, 2000.
3. Section 503 of IPC :
Section 503 of IPC defines the offense of criminal intimidation by use of use of emails and other electronic means of communication for threatening or intimidating any person or his property or reputation.
Section 503 says that whoever, threatens another with any injury to his person, reputation or property, or to the person or reputation of any one in whom that person is interested, with intent to cause alarm to that person, or to cause that person to do any act which he is not legally bound to do, or to omit to do any act which that person is legally entitled to do, as the means of avoiding the execution of such threats, commits criminal intimidation.
INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY ACT, 2000
The Section 66A of the Information Act, 2000 does not specifically deal with the offence of cyber defamation but it makes punishable the act of sending grossly offensive material for causing insult, injury or criminal intimidation.
Section 66A of the Information Act, 2000
Section 66A of the IT Act says that any person who sends, by means of a computer resource or a communication device:-
any information that is grossly offensive or has menacing character; or
any content information which he knows to be false, but for the purpose of causing annoyance, inconvenience, danger, obstruction, insult, injury, criminal intimidation, enmity, hatred, or ill will, persistently makes by making use of such computer resource or a communication device,
any electronic mail or electronic mail message for the purpose of causing annoyance or inconvenience or to deceive or to mislead the addressee or recipient about the origin of such messages shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years and with fine.
For more details visit us on Bangalore lawyers.