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Digital Bullying In India

Author:

Mayukh Nandi, Student, Shyambazar Law College


Conceiving and contriving digitalization in a society with an objective of hope and desire of connecting the community, “rustica et urbana”[1] with high speed internet which had previously started with 3G, 4G and now 5G, ameliorating the design of digital and online services, blessing the citizens of India to surf more in work wave, is, howbeit, erratically proved to be as “hostis humani generis.”[2] Conventionally, “effectus sequitor causam”[3] to digital domineer, coercing, online harassment, exasperating with constrains to subjugate the society by bullying them, emerging as an urgent disquieting and dismaying savage sadistic social issue. Be that as it may, “vigilantibus nor dormantibus jura subveniunt.”[4]


1. WHAT IS DIGITAL BULLYING IN INDIA?

The phenomenon of Digital Bullying in India is ‘an aggressive, intentional act or behaviour that is carried out by a group or an individual, using electronic forms of contact, repeatedly and overtime against a victim who cannot easily defend him or herself.’[5] Digital Bullying could have been even so be understood as “is when one person or a group of people try to threaten, tease or embarrass someone else by using a mobile phone or the Internet. Digital Bullying can be and is oftentimes, just as harmful as bullying in the real world.”[6] Tenably, Digital Bullying is harassment through digital devices such as computers, laptops, smart or cell phones and tablets, and can occur over social media, in chat rooms and on gaming platforms.[7] In his book ‘Cyber Bullying: Profile and Policy Guidelines’, eminent criminologist Dr K Jaishankar stated digital bullying as “abuse/ harassment by teasing or insulting the victims’ body shape, intellect, family background, dress sense, mother tongue, place of origin, attitude, race, caste, or class using modern telecommunication networks such as mobile phones and Internet.”[8]


India ranks at number 3 in the list of online bullying cases as per the survey conducted by Microsoft in 2012 in 25 countries.[9]


2. PLATFORMS WHERE DIGITAL BULLYING OCCURS IN INDIA.

The platforms have been mentioned below in seriatim where digital bullying takes place:

A. In social communicating sites such as Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, MX Takatak et cetera.

B. Through SMS, text messages from the cellular communicating network, WhatsApp, telegram et cetera.

C. Through Email or Electronic Mail, ATM Machines or Automated Teller Machines, Mobile Banking, et cetera.


3. WHAT ARE THE VARIOUS TYPES OF DIGITAL BULLYING IN INDIA?

The varied types of Digital Bullying in India are classified in seriatim:


A. Doxing.

Doxing in India is a process of digital bullying where someone’s personal or private information or details is shared publicly without taking that particular person’s prior consent or permission in order to demean and deflate so as to bully that specific person. Doxing involves leaking someone’s personal photos or messages or confidential details without asking prior permission.

B. Trickery.

Trickery in India is a digital bullying where one person at first gains second person’s trust by making the second person believe that the first person is truly trustable and remarkably a person upon whom secrets would lie as secrets, a sense of security and friendship is being created by the first person towards the second person and then the second person commits bullying of the first person by sharing the private details such as pictures, messages, bank details to multiple persons breaking the trust.


C. Trolling.

Trolling in India is a method of digital bullying by leaving behind or sending a message or statement digitally through mobile phones, computers or laptops through the internet to exasperate someone or get on someone’s nerves. Trolling towards someone excites their emotions and it is a disgrace practice against humanity but trolling may not always be regarded as digital bullying if not done vigorously affecting the morality of that person’s right to life.


D. Dissing.

Dissing is a common practice of digital bullying in India where every now and then the phenomenon could be visible in the internet occurring in the social networking sites and political platforms which has to be controlled. This practice is eventually a method of spreading cruel information which could create rift between two religions or individuals or harm reputation but here in this phenomenon the person who would bully need to have a relationship with the victim who would be bullied.


E. Fraping.

Fraping in India is a phenomenon of digital bullying where someone uses a child’s account that could be an email account or WhatsApp or Facebook account to write something which could intentionally raise hatred and against humane grace such as statement of racial discrimination, homophobic slurs, et cetera.


F. Exclusion.

Exclusion is a type of digital bullying in India where the victim is excluded pretentiously or deliberately from participating on any events online. The victim in such bullying is in-person with the person who would bullies. Even so such bullying happens and is targeted through social networking sites.


G. Harassment.

Harassment is a digital bullying that is done online to harass people by leaking their personal images or text messages or confidential. In India under such bullying varied sub types of digital bullying resides into where people are blackmailed and harassed by intentionally threatening another person with their private information.


H. Blackmail.

The digital bullying of blackmailing in India happens when a person gets another person’s private information and tries to threat online that other person in return of something. Such type of digital bullying is insane to humankind and it should be stopped.


I. Flaming.

In India flaming is a most frequent digital bullying where one pretentiously makes a statement to insult and target the interest of public through internet in the social networking sites. Such bullying is direct and attacks the victim.


J. Stalking.

Stalking is a common type of digital bullying which happens only in social networking sites through internet where people are connected to one another, shares images, texts and sometimes private details for the reason such bullying takes place.

Cases of stalking or bullying of women or children increased by 36% from 542 in 2017 to 739 in 2018, data released recently by the National Crime Records Bureau meanwhile, the conviction rate for stalking or bullying of women and children fell 15 percentage points, to 25% in 2018 from 40% in 2017, howbeit, during the same period, the pendency percentage saw an increase of one percentage point to 96%, the data shows.[10]


K. Masquerading.

Masquerading is a process of bullying someone through internet in the social networking sites by creating a fake identity or online account or profile to harass or threat by texting or communicating with the victim concerned. Such bullying is happening and would continue to happen unless the guidelines along with the rules and regulations are changed.


L. Phishing.

Phishing is a digital bullying in India where there is an attack made online that uses disguised email as a weapon where the aim is to trick the email recipient into believing that the message is something they want or need: a request from their bank, for instance, or a note from someone in their company and to click a link or download an attachment.[11]


Ascribe to the developing digitalized technologies, humankind and the society needs to have proper legislation to erase the crime of digital bullying in India else the digital space would absorb and digest people through the electronic medium which in near future could not be foreseen completely.


4. THE LEGAL STATUTES THAT IS BEING ALLOCATED IN ORDER TO PREVENT FROM DIGITAL BULLYING IN INDIA.

In India, at present there are no specific legislations or legal status which could be allocated in order to eradicate the digital bullying in India. The Information Technology Act, 2000, The Indian Penal Code, 1860 and The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 entails with the bullying issues and could cover the problems of digital bullying in India. Leaking other’s confidential information or any such matter or matters should be a concerned individuality which should be respected and maintained even so not agreed to the concern. But if this freedom is used to mentally harass or threaten someone’s private space digital bullying crimes could take an ugly and worst shape in the near future that should not be accepted and thus the need for a well passed legislation is well awaited from both the Houses of Parliament, thence it should be addressed soon. By the making of such legislation or resolution, the opinion of doctors or psychiatrists could be taken into consideration since such offences affects the psyche of the person more than it affects their bodies, even so, both the offender and the victim might need counseling after such incidents as the purpose is to educate the society and to make them realize their mistakes and in several cases the abusers also have a history of being bullied themselves, concomitantly, the existing laws should also be revised for benefitting children and portals have to be build up where these crimes could be reported and removed from the root.


5. CASES REGARDING DIGITAL BULLYING IN INDIA.

“The postulation of justice system will be defeated if the victims of digital bullying are made to agonize, with the evolution & expansion in technology it is an urgent need to set some guidelines or rules or regulations for the eradication of such bullying.”


A. In the case of Ritu Kohli vs Rajesh Kohli, while discussing stalking and digital bullying, Ritu Kohli's Case was the first online stalking case reported in India, whereas a girl named Ritu Kohli filed a complaint in 2001 that someone else is using her account in social media and she was pretentiously getting calls from different phone numbers even so she got calls from abroad, thence, a case was even filed under Section 509 of Indian Penal Code, 1860 where the charge is Word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman.


B. In Rittika Sharma’s case, where a student in a reputed Delhi school was stalked by a facebook friend whom she did unfriend months ago and whom she gave all her information including residential address, school address and even cell phone number, besides She told her brother regarding this and her brother filed a complaint against this. After this incident Delhi Police had organized an awareness program where all the students were told not to send their personal details to any stranger.[12]


C. In the case of Suhas Katti vs State of Tamil Nadu,[13] a case was filed by the woman on basis of sending obscene messages where set of a standard for convicting the offenders who send offending messages which defames, annoys a person because of its obscene and vulgar nature. The case is of prime importance also in the field of providing online evidence under Section 65B of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872 where the charge is admissibility of electronic records in the court for the first time. The case was filed on the basis of being harassed and getting obscene messages on various groups with the intention of offending her and it was sent by the man who was very keen in marrying her but then she rejected him for which that person started sending these kind of messages.[14]


D. In the case of National Association Of Software ... vs Ajay Sood And Ors.,[15] the act of "phishing" into the ambit of Indian laws, even in the absence of specific legislation; it clears the misconception that there is no "damages culture" in India for violation of Intellectual Property (or hereinafter IP) Rights, besides, this case reaffirms IP owners' faith in the Indian judicial system's ability and willingness to protect intangible property rights and send a strong message to IP owners that they can do business in India without sacrificing their Intellectual Property Rights.[16]


Any person could become a victim of digital bullying, however, sometimes, the person may not even be aware that he/she is a victim of digital bullying or harassment. With an eye toward an intention to tackle and fight the rising menace of digital bullying, the Police and Cyber Crime Unit or CCU, both at Central and State level have been working actively. As mentioned before, this tends to have a deep psychological impact on the target where in certain cases, digital bullying could lead the victim to accept radical and desperate moves such as self-harm and even so, suicide which is why victims need to speak up and speak out or talk to a family member or a reliable, trusted person, thence, victims of digital bullying can file a complaint against the ‘bully’ and initiate legal actions against such miscreants.[17]


The need for the day is cyber-savvy judges and digital helplines cells, wherefore, digital bullying cases could be reported at this website, www.cybercrime.gov.in or through the Helpline Dialing No 155260.


The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.


References

[1] A legal maxim which means rural and urban. [2] A legal maxim which means an enemy of the human race. [3] A legal maxim which means the effect flow the cause. [4] A legal maxim which means law protects those who are vigilant and not sleepy. [5] Smith, P. K., del Barrio, C., & Tokunaga, R. S. (2013). Definitions of bullying and cyberbullying: How useful are the terms? In S. Bauman, D. Cross, & J. Walker (Eds.), Routledge monographs in mental health. Principles of cyberbullying research: Definitions, measures, and methodology (p. 26–40). Routledge/Taylor & Francis Group. [6] Ria Tandon, A Critical Analysis of Digital Bullying in India, Introduction (March 29th, 2021, 8:00 AM), https://lawescort.in/2019/07/a-critical-analysis-of-cyber-bullying-in-india/ [7] Rhea Maheshwari, In one year alone, cyberbullying of Indian women and teenagers rose by 36% (March 29, 2021, 9:58 AM), https://scroll.in/article/956085/in-one-year-alone-cyberbullying-of-indian-women-and-teenagers-rose-by-36 [8] Aparna Ramamoorthy, Introduction to Cyberbullying Laws in India, Cyberbullying Laws in India (March 30, 2021, 07:00 AM), https://www.legalbites.in/cyberbullying-laws-in-india/ [9] Swati Shalini, Facts of Cyberbullying, What is Cyber Bullying or Anti-Bullying Laws in India (March 30, 2021 08:00 AM), https://www.myadvo.in/blog/must-read-what-is-cyber-bullying-or-anti-bullying-laws-in-india [10] Rhea Maheshwari, In one year alone, cyberbullying of Indian women and teenagers rose by 36% (March 30, 2021, 09:02 AM), https://scroll.in/article/956085/in-one-year-alone-cyberbullying-of-indian-women-and-teenagers-rose-by-36 [11] Phishing definition, What is phishing? How this cyber attack works and how to prevent it (March 30, 2021, 09:01 AM), https://www.csoonline.com/article/2117843/what-is-phishing-how-this-cyber-attack-works-and-how-to-prevent-it.html [12] Adrita, What Is The Present Condition?, Cyber Bullying: A Disregarded Issue In India (March 30, 2021, 10:13 AM), http://www.legalserviceindia.com/legal/article-2358-cyber-bullying-a-disregarded-issue-in-india.html [13] Suhas Katti vs State of Tamil Nadu, C No. 4680 of 2004. [14] Nagarjun. S, Background Of The Case, Suhas Katti v. State of Tamil Nadu (April 13, 2021, 10:15 AM), https://indianlawportal.co.in/suhas-katti-v-state-of-tamil-nadu/ [15] National Association Of Software ... vs Ajay Sood And Ors., 119 (2005) DLT 596. [16] State of Tamil Nadu Vs Suhas Katti, Important Cyber Law Case Studies (April 14, 2021, 10:16 AM), https://www.cyberralegalservices.com/detail-casestudies.php [17]Cyberbullying – A Changing Trend of Modern Crime, REPORT CYBER-BULLYING. DON’T REMAIN A SILENT VICTIM (April 15, 2021, 11:00 AM), https://blog.mygov.in/cyberbullying-a-changing-trend-of-modern-crime/

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