Cyber Laws in India.

To begin with let me first introduce you with the concept of Cyber Law. It is the law which deals with computers and Internet. Cyber Law in India is governed by the Information Technology Act, 2000. The act has been recently amended by an amending act called The Information Technology (Amendment) Act, 2008.

In its object clause, The Information Technology Act states that the act is enacted to provide legal recognition for transactions carried out by means of electronic data interchange and other means of electronic communication, commonly referred to as "electronic commerce", which involve the use of alternatives to paper-based methods of communication and storage of information, to facilitate electronic filing of documents with the Government agencies and further to amend the Indian Penal Code, the Indian Evidence Act, 1872, the Bankers' Books Evidence Act, 1891 and the Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934 and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto. This in a simpler sense means that the act would deal with any and every kind of transaction made electronically using computers or internet and shall accordingly amend other vital statutes to provide such transactions complete sanction of law. The act also punishes the crimes committed using computers and internet like introduction of computer contaminant like viruses and other such, malwares into a computer

In its first Chapter, Under Section 2(1), the IT Act defines some vital terms used in the act. At the very first sub-section, it defines ‘Access’ as "access" with its grammatical variations and cognate expressions means gaining entry into, instructing or communicating with the logical, arithmetical, or memory function resources of a computer, computer system or computer network.
The Section in its further defines many other vital terms like Asymmetric cryptography, Certifying Authority, Computer, Computer Network, Computer System, Data etc.

The word Computer has been defined as "computer" means any electronic magnetic, optical or other high-speed data processing device or system which performs logical, arithmetic, and memory functions by manipulations of electronic, magnetic or optical impulses, and includes all input, output, processing, storage, computer software, or communication facilities which are connected or related to the computer in a computer system or computer network.

As per the act Computer System means a device or collection of devices, including input and output support devices and excluding calculators which are not programmable and capable of being used in conjunction with external files, which contain computer programmes, electronic instructions, input data and output data, that performs logic, arithmetic, data storage and retrieval, communication control and other functions and Computer Network means the interconnection of one or more
computers through...

(i)    The use of satellite, microwave, terrestrial line or other communication media;     and

(ii)    Terminals or a complex consisting of two or more interconnected computers whether or not the interconnection is continuously maintained.

Data has been defined as a representation of information, knowledge, facts, concepts or instructions which are being prepared or have been prepared in a formalized manner, and is intended to be processed, is being processed or has been processed in a computer system or computer network, and may be in any form (including computer printouts magnetic or optical storage media, punched cards, punched tapes) or stored internally in the memory of the computer.

The second chapter of the act deals with Digital Signatures defined as authentication of any electronic record by a subscriber by means of an electronic method or procedure in accordance with the provisions of section 3. Section 3 of the Act states that Subject to the provisions of this section any subscriber may authenticate an electronic record by affixing his digital signature and that the authentication of the electronic record shall be effected by the use of asymmetric crypto system and hash function which envelop and transform the initial electronic record into another electronic record.

Chapter 3 deals with e-Governance or Electronic Governance. U/s 4 of the Act, it states that Where any law provides that information or any other matter shall be in writing or in the typewritten or printed form, then, notwithstanding anything contained in such law, such requirement shall be deemed to have been satisfied if such information or matter is :-

(a)    Rendered or made available in an electronic form; and

(b)    Accessible so as to be usable for a subsequent reference.

In a simpler way it means that where ever necessary one can file a document in electronic form and that shall be treated as a document submitted as per the requirement of law. By this the electronic documents have been given the recognition of law.

Chapter 6 deals with regulations for Certifying Authorities i.e. a person who has been granted a license to issue a Digital Signature Certificate.

Most importantly Chapter 11 of the Act deals with the offences related to Computers, which is the main concern of common people.  U/s 65 it explains the offence of Tampering with computer source documents and its penalty. It states that whoever knowingly or intentionally conceals, destroys or alters or intentionally or knowingly causes another to conceal, destroy or alter any computer source code used for a computer, computer programme, computer system or computer network, when the computer source code is required to be kept or maintained by law for the time being in force, shall be punishable with imprisonment up to three years, or with fine which may extend up to two lakh rupees, or with both and for this section “computer source code” means the listing of programmes, computer commands, design and layout and programme analysis of computer resource in any form.
Section 66 defines and penalizes the offence of “Hacking”. It states that whoever with the intent to cause or knowing that he is likely to cause wrongful loss or damage to the public or any person destroys or deletes or alters any information residing in a computer resource or diminishes its value or utility or affects it injuriously by any means, commits hacking and whoever commits hacking shall be punished with imprisonment up to three years, or with fine which may extend up to two lakh rupees, or with both. But under the IT (Amendment) Act, 2008 some new offences have been introduced and penalty has been prescribed, which were not defined under the IT Act, 2000. Under Section 66B of the Amending Act, punishment for dishonestly receiving stolen computer resource or communication device is prescribed as up to 3 years of imprisonment and/or up to Rupees 1 Lakh fine.
Section 66C penalizes Identity Theft with up to 3 years of imprisonment and/or up to Rupees 1 Lakh fine.

Section 66D penalizes Cheating by personation by using computer resource with the same term of up to 3 years of imprisonment and/or up to Rupees 1 Lakh fine.

Section 66E is a big new insertion with talks in detail about violation of privacy using computers. It states that whoever, intentionally or knowingly captures, publishes or transmits image of private area of any person without his or her consent, under circumstances violating the privacy of that person, shall be punished with up to 3 years of imprisonment and/or up to Rupees 2 Lakh fine.
To make the section more elaborate it has further defined the terms like ‘transmit’, ‘capture’, ‘private area’, and ‘publishes’ as transmit means to electronically send a visual image with the intent that it be viewed by person or persons; capture with respect to an image, means to videotape, photograph, film or record by any means; private area means the naked or undergarment clad genitals, pubic area, buttocks or female breast. Sending of obscene MMS, Capturing obscenity using CCTV cameras etc. come under the purview of this section. 

Section 66F talks of Cyber Terrorism. It states that whoever threatens the security or integrity of India by denying access or gaining access to any computer, computer system or computer network shall be punished with imprisonment which may extend to imprisonment for life.

Section 67 of the IT Act, 2000 punishes Cyber Pornography with up to 10 years of imprisonment and/or up to Rupees 2 Lakh fine.

Section 70B of the Amending Act sets up an Indian Computer Emergency Response Team to serve as a national agency for incident response, by notification in an official gazette by the Central Government.

Section 76 states that Any computer, computer system, floppies, compact disks, tape drives or any other accessories related thereto, in respect of which any provision of this Act,  rules, orders or regulations made thereunder has been or is being contravened, shall be liable to confiscation.

The Act previously gave the Police officers in and above the rank of the DSP to investigate into matters of Cyber Crime, however it has been amended and now an Officer in or above the rank of a Police Inspector can conduct the Investigation.

Some more changes that have been incorporated into the IT Act, 2000 by the Amendment Act of 2008 are:

1.    The definition chapter has included in it the definition of “cyber cafe” as, any facility from where access to the internet is offered by any person in the ordinary course of business to the members of the

2.    The term 'Digital Signature' has been coupled with the term 'Electronic Signature’.

3.    The maximum amount of compensation has been raised from Rupees 1 Crore to Rupees 5 Crores; and

4.    Special strict penal provisions have been made with reference to 'Child Pornography'.

5.    The term Communication Device now includes mobiles, PDAs, a combination of both or any other device that can store, transmit and handle text, audio and video files. 

So conclusively, it can be stated that the IT Act of 2000 was the first legislation governing computers and computer related crimes which was strong enough in 2000 to deal with computer related offences. But with the passing time, the offenders have found new ways out to commit crimes and thus the amending Act of 2008 has given the IT Act of 2000 a new face and more ability to deal with cyber criminals.

This is a Guest post by Krishanu Ray  final year B.S.L LL.B student at I.L.S Law College, Pune, holding Diplomas in Cyber Laws,Forensic Science......and he blogs at LexVici .
Cyber Laws in India. Cyber Laws in India. Reviewed by Satyajit (Admins,a.k.a Satosys) on Monday, October 11, 2010 Rating: 5


emmabelton said...

Thanks for sharing information for cyber laws in india I really impressed and want some more stuffs again for this post.

Madav@tech tips said...


This is first time I am reading Cyber law in india.Any way thanks for this one

Regards |Madav

Electric cigarette said...

Wow i gained some knowledge about Cyber law in India really thanks for sharing. And dude this is the great for my today's surf.

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