DEFAMATION IN CYBER SPACE BY AKSHIT GUPTA @LEXCLIQ

Defamation can be defined as when someone do a wrongful and intentional publication of something either in written or in oral form against an individual, institution or organization or association. To be a defamation case following elements need to be fulfilled  

  • It must be in knowledge of third party 
  • The statement must be against plaintiff 
  • The statement must be defamatory in nature 

The defamation can be done in libel or slander. 

  • Libel means when the defamatory statement is published in written form 
  • Slander means when the defamation is done orally which mean spoken in verbal form. 

Cyber Defamation: 

The shift in this technology not just made a revolution in India but all around the world. The remarkable growth of internet has provided people with a platform to express their views and opinions through various modes. This cyber world comes into its own freedom which is freedom of speech and expression which has given rise to more cases of cyber defamation. In cyber space defamation is done with far more effective method because of modern peace of electronic devices. In cyber space defamation is done with the help of internet from computers or smart devices. 

Punishment for Cyber Defamation: 

In India a person can be liable in both civil and criminal laws for defamation in cyber space. 

  •  Section 499 of Indian Penal Code says that “Whoever by words either spoken or intended to be read or by signs and visual 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 expected to defame that person.” 
  • Section 500 of IPC provides for punishment wherein “any person held liable under section 499 will be punishable with imprisonment of two years or fine or both.” 
  • Section 469 deals with forgery. If anyone creates a false document or fake account by which it harms the reputation of a person. The punishment of this offence can extend up to 3 years and fine. 
  • Section 503 of IPC deals with the offence of criminal intimidation by use of electronic means to damage one’s reputation in society. 

Information Technology Act, 2000 

Section 66A was struck down by supreme court in 2015 as there was an undefined word in law named ‘offensive’ which court of law kept on using to suppress freedom of speech so in 2015 this section was squashed by supreme court. 

If a person or individual wants to lodge a complaint of defamation in cyber space, they have to reach out to cyber department to lodge their complaint and get the matter resolved. 

Statements admissible by court: 

As per section 65 A and 65B of Indian evidence act 

  • Any electronic mode printed on a paper or recorded or copied in optical or magnetic media shall be considered as a document and shall be admissible by court. 
  • Online chats are also admissible. 
  • Electronics mails 

Suggestions: 

According to me there the cyber department should come under central government and there should be separate legal cyber departments in each state which can look into the matters of defamation in cyber space. This will help them to locate the offenders more effectively and quick trials could be done and in judiciary separate courts should be made for cybercrimes in which the judges will proper knowledge of technology and can take the quick decisions. 

Conclusion: 

The advanced modernization of information technology and which is also the future of this world making the laws early for the offences being done can help to make trials quick and spreading the knowledge and teaching the judicial officers regarding the same will help to pace the IT laws as the laws in this legal field as gone old the 19th century laws can’t be applied in 21 centuries. Witnessing the shift in technology the Indian judiciary should also catch the pace so that the offender can’t find the loop holes and make public victim of their acts. 

The other countries have already started taking shift in their technological laws and this is also the high time for India too. 

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