Offences under the Information Technology Act, 2000

Aashima Kakkar

The introduction of internet in the world has been a boon and a bane. Internet has provided many things either good or bad and has been an active participant in our lives since early days. It helps us to find thing by just pointing our phone on a thing or by finding our long-lost friends.

But when something is so good, there always drawbacks to it, thus, internet also has its drawbacks which can be classified as cybercrimes. Cyber crimes can be sending an explicit photo of himself to a child or a woman unannounced or it can also be one of the fake websites that entice people and empty out their bank accounts in a matter of minutes.

To deal with the increasing crimes due to internet and advancing technology, the Government of India introduced the Information Technology Act, 2000 (hereinafter as the IT Act) that states its objective as the introduction of an act to provide legal recognition for transactions carried out through electronic data interchange and other forms of electronic communication, commonly referred to as “e-commerce,” which involve the use of alternatives to paper-based methods of communication and information storage, to facilitate electronic filing of documents with government agencies, and to amend the Indian Penal Code, The Evidence Act, 1872, the Banker’s Book Evidence Act, 1891, and the Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934 or for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.

In 2019, India recorded a total, 44,546 cases of cybercrime representing a massive increase of 63.5 percent over 2018. (27,248 cases). In this category, the crime rate increased from 2.0 in 2018 to 3.3 in 2019. In 2019, fraud accounted for 60.4 percent of all cyber-crime cases (26,891 out of 44,546), followed by sexual exploitation at 5.1 percent (2,266 cases) and causing disrepute at 4.2 percent (1,874 cases).[1] In this article a discussion of various offences under the IT Act will be discussed.

Section 65 – Tampering with the computer source documents

The purpose of this section is to safeguard the computer’s “intellectual property.” It is an attempt to extend the protection provided by the Copyright Law to computer source documents (codes). This section extends to the Copyright Act, assisting businesses in securing the source code of their programmes. Any magistrate can try Section 65.

This is a cognizable offence that is not subject to bail. Punishment of up to three years in prison and/or a fine of up to two lakh rupees.

Case Law

  • Syed Asifuddin and Ors. V. State of Andhra Pradesh[2]

Tata Indicom employees were arrested in this case for tampering with the electronic 32-bit number (ESN) programmed into cell phones. The theft was exclusively franchised to Reliance Infocom. The court held that tampering with source code violates Section 65 of the IT Act.

  • State (NCT of Delhi) v. Navjot Sandhu @ Afsan Guru[3]

On December 13, 2001, several terrorists attacked Parliament House. Digital evidence played a significant role in their prosecution in this case. Computers and evidence, the accused argued, are easily tampered with and thus should not be trusted. Several smart device storage discs and devices, as well as a laptop, were recovered from a truck intercepted in Srinagar based on information provided by two suspects.

The laptop contained evidence of fake identification cards, video files containing clips of political leaders with Parliament in the background shot from television news channels, and video files containing clips of political leaders with the background of Parliament in the background shot from television news channels.

In the case of the Ministry of Home Affairs car sticker, there was a game called “wolf pack” with the username “Ashiq,” which was also the name on one of the terrorists’ fake identity cards. There was no backup taken. As a result, it was challenged in court. The court held that the challenger must establish the accuracy of computer evidence in order to challenge it. The evidence cannot be questioned based on purely theoretical or generic concerns.

Section 66 – Hacking with the computer system

Hacking is defined as anyone who destroys, deletes, or alters any information residing in a computer resource, diminishes its value or utility, or affects it injuriously by any means with the intent to cause or knowing that he is likely to cause wrongful loss or damage to the public.

Anyone who hacks is subject to a sentence of imprisonment of up to three years or a fine of up to two lakh rupees, or both. Punishment under this section is up to three years in prison and a fine of up to two lakh rupees or a combination of both.


  • Anyone who has the intent or knowledge to do so.
  • Inflicting wrongful loss or damage to the general public or any individual.
  • Destroying or changing any data stored on a computer resource.
  • It’s worth or utility is diminished.
  • Harmfully affects it in any way.

Case Laws

  • R vs. Schifreen & Gold[4]

In this case, it is determined that the accused’s access to the British telecom Prestl Gold computers networks file amounted to deception rather than a crime.

  • Whiteley vs. R.[5]

In this case, the defendant gained unauthorized access to the Joint Academic Network (JANET) and deleted, added, and changed passwords to prevent unauthorized users from accessing the network.

The section’s goal is not just to protect information, but also to protect the integrity and security of computer resources from attacks by unauthorized people attempting to access them for whatever reason.

Section 67 – Publishing of obscene information in electronic form

Whoever publishes, transmits, or causes to be published in electronic form any material that is lascivious or appeals to the prurient interest, or whose effect is such that it tends to deprave and corrupt persons who are likely, in light of all relevant circumstances, to read, see, or hear the matter contained or embodied in it, shall be punished on first conviction with imprisonment for either description for a term which may extend to five years and with fine which may extend to one lakh rupees and in the event of a second or subsequent conviction with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to ten years and also with fine which may extend to two lakh rupees.


  • Publishing or transmitting
  • Causing to be published
  • Pornographic material in electronic form

Case Law

State of Tamil Nadu v. Suhas Katti[6]

This case involves sending an obscene, defamatory, and annoying message to a Yahoo message group about a divorcee woman. The accused forwarded e-mails to the victim for information using a false e-mail account he created in the victim’s name. The lady received a lot of annoying phone calls as a result of these postings.

The accused was apprehended after police received a complaint. He was a well-known family friend of the victim who wanted to marry her. She married someone else, but their marriage ended in divorce, and the accused began to contact her again. And because of her reluctance to marry him, he began harassing her on the internet.

The accused is found guilty of offences under sections 469, 509 IPC, and 67 of the IT Act 2000, and is sentenced to serve two years of RI and pay a fine of Rs.500/- for the offence under section 469 IPC, and one year of simple imprisonment and a fine of Rs.500/- for the offence under section 509 IPC, and two years of RI and a fine of Rs.500/- for the offence under section 67 of the IT Act 2000.

The accused was sentenced to Central Prison in Chennai after paying a fine. This is the first case in India to be convicted under section 67 of the Information Technology Act of 2000.

Section 71 – Penalty for misrepresentation

Whoever makes any misrepresentation to, or conceals any material fact from, the Controller or the Certifying Authority in order to obtain any license or Digital Signature Certificate, as the case may be, is punishable by imprisonment for a term up to two years, or a fine up to one lakh rupees, or both.

Punishment: Imprisonment for up to two years is the penalty.

Fine: up to one lakh rupees may be imposed, or both.

Section 72 – Penalty for breach of confidentiality and privacy

This section applies to anyone who has obtained access to any electronic record, books, register, correspondence, information, document, or other material in reliance on any of the Act’s or its allied rules and regulations. If such a person divulges such information, he will face severe consequences. It would not apply to a website or an email service provider’s disclosure of a person’s personal information. A term of up to two years in prison is the punishment under this section and one lakh rupees in fine, or both.

Section 73 – Penalty for publishing Digital signature certificate false in certain particulars

The certificate’s Certifying Authority has not issued it, or the certificate’s subscriber has not accepted it, or the certificate has been revoked or suspended. If the Certifying Authority believes that the Digital Signature Certificate should be suspended in the public interest, the Certifying Authority may do so.

A digital signature cannot be revoked unless the subscriber has been given the opportunity to be heard. When a certificate is revoked, the Certifying Authority must notify the subscriber. The purpose of such publication is to verify a digital signature created prior to the suspension or revocation.

Punishment: A term of imprisonment of up to two years may be imposed as a punishment.

Fine: a fine of up to one lakh rupees may be imposed, or both fines may be imposed.

Case Law

Bennett Coleman & co. v. Union of India[7]

In this case, the term “publication” has been defined as “dissemination and circulation.” The term “publication” in the context of digital media refers to the electronic transmission of information or data.

Section 76 – Confiscation

Any computer, computer system, floppies, compact discs, tape drives, or other accessories related thereto in which any provision of this Act, rules, orders, or regulations made thereunder has been or is being violated is subject to confiscation:

Provided, however, that where it is established to the satisfaction of the court adjudicating the confiscation that the person in whose possession, power, or control of any such computer, computer system, floppies, compact discs, tape drives, or any other accessories relating thereto is not responsible for any violation of the provisions of this Act, rules, orders, or regulations made there under, the court may, instead of making an order for confiscation of such computer, computer system, floppies, compact disks, tape drives or any other accessories related thereto, make such other order authorized by this Act against the person contravening of the provisions of this Act, rules, orders or regulations made there under as it may think fit.

Section 77 – Penalties or confiscation not to interfere with other punishments

No penalty or confiscation imposed under this Act precludes the imposition of any other punishment to which the person affected is subject under any other law currently in force. The aforementioned section establishes a mandatory condition, stating that the penalties or confiscation shall not interfere with any other punishments to which the person affected is subject under any other law in force at the time.


Various offences are increasing day by day as a result of the advancement of digital technology. As a result, the IT Act of 2000 must be amended to include those offences that are currently not covered by the Act. Cybercrime is not prevalent in India. As a result, we have time to tighten cyber laws and include offences that are currently not covered by the IT Act 2000.

Man has always been driven by the desire to advance and improve existing technologies since the dawn of civilization. This has resulted in tremendous growth and progress, which has served as a springboard for future developments. The development of the Internet is probably the most significant of all the significant advances made by mankind from the beginning to the present.

However, the Internet’s rapid evolution has raised a slew of legal issues and questions. Because the situation is still unclear, countries all over the world are using a variety of approaches to control, regulate, and facilitate electronic communication and commerce.

  1. Crime in India – Statistics, Vol. 1 pg. xiv available at:  
  2. Syed Asifuddin and Ors. V. State of Andhra Pradesh 2006 (1) ALD Cri 96
  3. State (NCT of Delhi) v. Navjot Sandhu @ Afsan Guru AIR 2005 SC 3820
  4. R vs. Schifreen & Gold (1988) 2 WLR 984
  5. Whiteley vs. R. (1991) 93 cr App rep 25
  6. State of Tamil Nadu v. Suhas Katti CC no. 4680/2004
  7. Bennett Coleman & co. v. Union of India (1969) 2 QB 222

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