Law Insider India

Legal News, Current Trends and Legal Insight | Supreme Court of India and High Courts

What are the Penalty and Compensation as per the Information Technology Act for Cyber Crime

9 min read

By Avinash Singh

Published on: February 11, 2024 at 00:45 IST

In the present era of globalization there are basically two types of world, one is physical world and other is virtual world. The physical world is increasing by birth of human being while virtual is manufacturing of new electronic devices like computer, Mobile phones etc. The more adoption and manufacturing of electronic devices is increasing the skills and opportunity of person but also increases the scope of crime.

Cyber Crime is criminal or illegal activity that target computer, computer network, or networked device with the help of internet and electronic tools to assail on the data of others which violates their several rights. Cyber Crimes are committed by the Cyber Criminals or hackers for the purpose of making money and sometimes reasons other than money like for political, professional and personal reasons. This crime is carried out by individuals or organisations.

In India, the Information Technology Act, 2000 and to some extent Indian Penal Code, 1960 deals with the cybercrimes and also describes the provision for penalty and compensation for Cyber Crimes. In this article we are going to describe the Cyber Crime, types of Cyber Crime, cyber laws in India which penalize the cybercrime offender, case laws and measures to prevent Cyber Crime.

The Indian Legislatures does not provide the exact definition of Cyber Crime in any statute, even the Information Technology Act, 2000 which with does not defined the term Cyber Crime. However in general the term Cyber Crime means any illegal activity which is carried over or with the help of internet or computer.

The oxford Dictionary defined the term Cyber Crime as ‘Criminal activity carried out by means of computer or the internet.’

After the right to privacy was declared as an fundamental right in Article 21 of the Constitution of India in the case of ‘Justice K.S Puttaswamy (Retd.) and Anr. Vs Union of India and Ors, 2018, the issue of data privacy gained more limelight.

The violation of data privacy without permission of person is a Cyber Crime. In the Cyber Crime the attacks are made by the hackers, which slow down the network of person for a while and in that time the hacker inters into the system and gain control over the personal information, and this information is misused for various includes the harassment of that person.

Cyber Crime in India is growing continuously, there is increase of 24.4 per cent in Cyber Crime registered in 2022 compared to 2021, whereas other crimes including economic offences (11%), crimes against senior citizen (9%) too recorded an increase, as per the data released by the National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB). According to this report 65,893 cases were registered under Cyber Crime, which is showing an increase of 24.4 per cent compared to 52,974 cases in 2021.

  • Child pornography – Child means any person who is below than 18 years of age. The visual depiction of minors any photograph, film, video, picture or any computer generating image engaging in sexual activity is called child pornography. Child pornography is an illegal act in India. Nowadays children are connected with the internet for educational purposes or for entertainment, the cybercriminal are mostly target child and induce them for the purpose of making pornographic material, and due to less mental capacity of children they do so for their pleasure. The law prohibited the production, distribution and possession of such contents. Information Technology Act, 2000 and Indian Penal Code, 1860 and Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO), 2015 gives protection against the child pornography. Section 67 of IT Act provides imprisonment for publishing or transmitting obscene material which may extend to 3 years or fine for 5,00,000 rupees, for repeated offender imprisonment for 5 years and with fine 10,00,000 rupees. Section 293 of IPC punish for sale, etc., of obscene object to young person, imprisonment for 3 years or fine of 2000 rupees, for repeated offender imprisonment for 7 years and also with 5000 rupees. Section 14 of POCSO Act punished with imprisonment for 5 years and fine, for repeated offender imprisonment not less than 7 years and also fine.
  • Hacking – Hacking is the process of identifying weakness in computer system or network to exploit the security and gain access to personal data. There are basically 2 type of hackers, white hat hackers, they are called as ethical hackers, they discover vulnerabilities in the computer system of government and other companies so that the authorities can improve their computer system and secure their personal data. The ethical hackers are paid for this. And one is black hat hackers, they are called as unethical hackers, they discover vulnerabilities the computer or network dishonestly or fraudulently for their personal use or for demanding some consideration. One is gray hat hacker, they lie between ethical and unethical hacker, they violate the laws of hacking, but does not have malicious or dishonest intent like black hat hacker. Section 66 of IT Act, 2000 mentioned the provision for punishment to such unethical hackers which is imprisonment for 3 years or fine which may extend to 5,00,000 rupees or both.
  • Phishing- It is an attack using mail or other methods of communication to trick the web user into revealing sensitive information that can be use for criminal purpose. The hacker conduct phishing attack by using email, massages, phone calls that looks to appear they are genuine and hacker ask for sensitive information of the banks, credit card, or password of other account.
  • Cyber stalking– Section 354D of IPC defines stalking as, when a man is trying to communicate with a women without her interest over the internet via mail, massages or any other electronic communication is the offence of stalking. Cyber stalking is also known as cyber crime. Cyber which is related to internet and stalking means checking anyone’s social media or in other websites. Section 67 of IT Act provides that when any obscene material is published, transmitted in any electronic form, then it is punishable with imprisonment for 5 years with fine of 1,00,000 rupees, repeated offender will be imprisoned for 10 years with fine of 10,00,000 rupees. Section 500 of IPC also penalize the same for 2 years, fine or both.
  • Cyber bulling– Bulling means a voluntary act intend to physically or mentally harm the victim or to create a sense of fear in victim’s mind. Cyber bulling is different from other bulling only in the sense that here the mode of bulling becomes the virtual world i.e. computer and other digital platforms are used to bully others. It may include variety of activity like sending obscene or vulgar messages, posting any type of humiliating content which defame the victim, threats of violence, phone calls by stalker, threat of child pornography, trolling etc. Any fair comment without dishonest intention do not falls under cyber bulling. Section 354A of IPC provides punishment for making sexually coloured remark, which is for 1 year or fine. Section 500 of IPC provides punishment for defamation for 2 years or fine. Section 66E of IT Act provides punishment for violation of privacy, if any person captures, publish the image of private area of any person shall be punished with imprisonment for 3 years or fine. Section 67A of IT Act punish for publishing of pornographic content in electronic form, imprisonment for 5 years and fine 10,00,000 rupees, and for repeated offender imprisonment for 7 years and fine 10,00,000 rupees.

The Information Technology Act, 2000 provides penalties and compensation in chapter 9 from section 43 to 45 of the Act.

  • Section 43: Penalty and Compensation for damage to computer, computer system, etc. This section covers a wide range of offenses, including unauthorized access, data theft, and damage to computer systems. Penalties can range from imprisonment for up to 3 years to fines of up to ₹2 lakhs, or both. Additionally, the offender may be liable to pay compensation to the victim for any damages caused.
  • Section 65: Tampering with computer source documents. This section deals with tampering with computer source code, punishable by up to 3 years imprisonment, a fine of up to ₹2 lakhs, or both.
  • Section 66: Computer related offences. This section covers a broad range of cybercrimes, including hacking, data theft, and fraud. Penalties can range from imprisonment for up to 3 years to fines of up to ₹1 crore, or both.
  • Section 66A: Punishment for sending offensive messages through communication service, etc. This section deals with sending offensive messages through electronic communication, punishable by up to 3 years imprisonment, a fine of up to ₹50,000, or both.
  • Section 66B: Punishment for dishonestly receiving stolen computer resource or communication device. This section deals with receiving stolen computer resources or communication devices, punishable by up to 3 years imprisonment, a fine of up to ₹1 lakh, or both.
  • Section 66C: Punishment for identity theft. This section deals with identity theft, punishable by up to 3 years imprisonment, a fine of up to ₹1 lakh, or both.
  • Section 66D: Punishment for cheating by personation by using computer resource. This section deals with cheating by impersonation using a computer resource, punishable by up to 3 years imprisonment, a fine of up to ₹1 lakh, or both.
  • Section 66E: Punishment for violation of privacy. This section deals with the violation of privacy, punishable by up to 3 years imprisonment, a fine of up to ₹2 lakhs, or both.
  • Section 66F: Punishment for cyber terrorism. This section deals with cyber terrorism, punishable by life imprisonment or a fine, or both.
  • Section 67: Punishment for publishing or transmitting obscene material in electronic form. This section deals with publishing or transmitting obscene material electronically, punishable by up to 5 years imprisonment, a fine of up to ₹10 lakhs, or both.
  • Shreya Singhal Vs. Union of India, AIR 2015 SC 1523 – Shreya Singhal was arrested under Section 66A of IT Act after they posted an objectionable comments on Facebook concering the complete shutdown of Mumbai after death of a political leader. Section 66A was challenged before the Apex court of India by the women. The apex court held that, Section 66A is capable of restricting all forms of communication, hence it is in contravention of Article 19(1) and Article 21 of Constitution of India. Apex court struck down Section 66A and held it unconstitutional.
  • Vinod kaushik Vs. Madhvika Joshi, 2011- Madhvika Joshi is wife of Vinod Kaushik, she was accused of stealing the emails from account of her husband and her father in law. Her husband and her father in law claimed damages under section 43 of IT Act. Madhvika Joshi respond that she steal the emails only for strengthening her case of section 498A of IPC to give evidence to Police and Court. Delhi High court held that, Madhvika Joshi steal the email only for strengthen her case of cruelty, not for the purpose any advantage. And there was no any damage to Vinod Kaushik and his father, and the allegation against his wife was set aside by court.
  • CBI Vs Arif Azim (Sony Sanbandh case)- The website www.sambandh.com allowed NRIs to send Sony product to their India friends and relatives after paying money online. A Sony colour TV set and telephone was ordered for Arif Azim in Nodia. The payment was made by credit card and order was delivered to Arif Azim. The actual owner of the credit card inform the company and denied such order and said that it was unauthorised payment. The complaint was filed with CBI and case was registered under section 419,418,420 of IPC. The court held that, IPC is effective piece of legislation when IT Act is not exhaustive and hence Arif Azim is guilty of the offence.

The internet is a global phenomena, as the scope of internet increasing the crime rate related to internet is also increasing. India have make strengthen provision to curb the cyber crime and give exclusive power to police and other authorities. The history is the witness of the fact that no policy has ever eradicate crime globally, same as cybercrime cannot be completely eliminated from the internet. The only solution is to make law more strengthen and strictly enforced and educate people about the law, their rights and liabilities.

Aware the people that how the protect themselves against cybercrime like by using antivirus software, keep update software, use strong password, do not click on links in spam emails, contact company directly about suspicious request, do not give OTP to any unknown person and keep an eye on bank statements.

References

  • https://data.gov.in
  • Oxford dictionary
  • Information Technology Act, 2000
  • Indian Penal Code, 1860
  • Protection of Child from sexual offences Act, 2015
  • Constitution of India
  • Indiankanoon.org
  • blog.ipleader.in
  • www.legalserviceindia.com