Hitesh
in Cyber Law
Asked March 30, 2015

Online bullying

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I recently saw a video on 'Price of Shame' by Monica Lewinsky. Can you help me understand whether we can file a complaint against online bullying in Indian context? And how will the recent judgement of Supreme Court on section 66A come into play in the context of online bullying?

Answer 1

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Sarthak Vidyarthi
Online Bullying is commonly known as cyber bullying. It refers to the use of information technology to harm or harass someone. It includes ‘posting anything about anyone online inorder to bring about hatred in other’s minds; or defaming and humiliating victims etc’ . However, in India there is no legislation covering cyber bullying. There is law on cyber stalking, which is a man following or contacting a woman, despite clear indication of disinterest to such contact by the woman, or monitoring of use of internet or electronic communication of a woman. This provision allows only women to file a complaint against men. Further, it is required that there must be clear proof of disinterest shown by the woman for any online activity to be covered under cyber stalking. Though a complaint for online bullying in cases where a man bullies a woman can be covered under this section but it cannot possibly cover all incidents of online bullying. Section 66A of IT Act was so widely worded that it could bring within its ambit instances of cyber bullying. Section 66A provided an avenue to actual victims of cyber harassment to find direct relief against content that is insulting or deleterious in nature. The Supreme Court in Shreya Singhal and Ors. v. Union of India has struck down Section 66A, thereby leaving the victims of cyber bullying remediless in absence of any substitute law covering such instances. Hence, there is no recourse under the head of online bullying available after the Shreya Singhal case except the limited number of case which can fall under cyber stalking.
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