Cyber Laws In India: A Need For Evolution

This Research Paper is written by Kaushiki Mishra, a Second Year B.A LL.B (Hons.) Student at National Law University, Odisha.


The technology, nowadays, has become the core of major operations in the industries and the society. Along with being widely diverse in the scope of use, technology is also very dynamic and the life cycle of the existing products and services in this field is very small. The spectrum of such technology is spreading each day and with spread, the possibilities of misuse also increase by manifolds. Thus, there comes the need for appropriate laws to govern such media and prevent prospective exploitation. The laws in India were made keeping in mind such needs. Apart from the changes in the already existent law such as Indian Penal Code and Indian Contract Act (inclusion of E-contracts), India also has separate IT Act to deal with the crimes related to cyberspace specifically. But the question arises, whether the act is exhaustive and whether it is capable of dealing with every evil that rises along with the onset of improvement and change? This paper talks about the different kinds of cybercrimes, the different provisions of the IT Act and whether or not they deal with these problems completely. This paper also draws Parallelism between IPC and the IT Act, and how similarly they are associated along with discussing some of the solutions to the current problems.


The onset of Technology brought in a lot of productive mechanism and useful tools to the humankind. In mid- nineties, there was an impetus in globalization and computerization, with more and more nations computerizing their governance, and e-commerce seeing an enormous growth[1] but nothing in this world is present that has no negative effects. Technology corner as well and good it was for this it started being misused and abused. Information technology and the use of computers as a medium of communication storage and multimedia in the world and the use of the internet for set convenience also brought the need for the law and regulations to be framed to manage and regulate set action and provide protection against threat that the society might be exposed to. With the adoption of the regulation resolution by the UN General Assembly on 30th January 1997[2] India also realised the need for such a Framework. 10 IT Act 2000 was enacted in India.

Cyberlaw was sought to be quite wholesome at that point of time but change is the only constant. Introduction of social networking sites, the entry of smartphones,, in the market and now, high-speed data present in every mobile phone there is a greater need for stringent laws now more than ever to regulate such actions that are tutorials to the idea of a peaceful society. Yet, we see very less or no discussion regarding such topics happening for the required changes. It is the need of the hour to focus on these changes to manage and control the rampant use of Cyber access to credit the position of an otherwise stable society.


The cyber laws in India are not able to catch up with the constant changing Technology present in the society. As a result, there are a multitude of problems that have risen up. This lack of appropriate laws to govern the social media is causing a serious turmoil in the society. Unfortunately, not much is being done to cover the same. Some of the major issues the current tribal of face are cyber terrorism, identity theft, hacking, defamation, cyberbullying selling of trade secrets, the threat to intellectual property rights, harassment and spreading hatred in the name of freedom of speech. The provisions under the information technology act run parallel to the provisions made under IPC 1860.

Section 66B in the IT Act says Whoever dishonestly receive or retains any stolen computer resource or communication device knowing or having reason to believe the same to be stolen computer resource or communication device, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three years or with fine which may extend to rupees one lakh or with both[3] which will basically fall under section 425[4] of IPC which deals with mischief. Punishment for which can be a maximum of three months imprisonment or fine or both under section 426 of IPC.

Where hacking and data theft or dealt with under section 43 and 66 of the IT Act. Section 43[5] talks about tampering of the system and section 66 says – If any person, dishonestly or fraudulently, does any act referred to in section 43, he shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years or with fine which may extend to five lakh rupees or with both[6] and the punishment for the same have been set as three years imprisonment and fine upto 500000 rupees or both which can be compared to Section 378[7] of IPC which deals with theft of movable property. A provision of similar punishment of 3 years imprisonment or fine or both is also here. Also, section 424 of IPC which says Whoever dishonestly or fraudulently conceals or removes any property of himself or any other person, or dishonestly or fraudulently assists in the concealment or removal thereof, or dishonestly releases any demand or claim to which he is entitled, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine, or with both[8]can also be similarly applied.

 While section 66C of the IT Act deals with the identity theft and provides for punishment for 3 years and a fine up to 100000 rupees[9]. Likewise, section 66D talks about “cheating by impersonation” providing for the same punishment as under section 66C. These two sections can be traced in IPC under section 419 of IPC[10] the only difference being no maximum cap on fine. Section 463, 465 and 468 which deal with forgery can also be related to this crime. Section 420 which deals with cheating in IPC also provides for the punishment of cheating as up to7 years imprisonment and fine.[11]

Section 66B of the IT Act deals with the receipt of stolen property and has the punishment of up to three years or 100000 fine or both[12] and section 411 of IPC goes well with this provision. Section 67 67A and 67D deal with obscenity. The punishment under section 67 of IT Act is: for the first conviction, atom up to 3 years and up to 5 lacs of fine and second or any subsequent conviction has 5 years of imprisonment and fine up to 10 lacs which can be very well traced back to Section 292 and 294 of IPC dealing with similar offences. While tampering of computer system (charges the services availed of by a person to the account of another person by tampering with or manipulating any computer, computer system, or computer network[13],) or tampering with computer source documents(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[14]), violation of privacy (Whoever, intentionally or knowingly captures, publishes or transmits the image of a private area of any person without his or her consent, under circumstances violating the privacy of that person, shall be punished with imprisonment which may extend to three years or with fine not exceeding two lakh rupees, or with both[15]) cyber terrorism(section 66F) have not been provided under IPC, they have been dealt with under the IT Act. While both provide for the loss there can be conflict among the provisions. The conflict has been stalled in the case of Sharat Babu Digumarti[16] where the Supreme Court held that no individual should be charged under IPC for offences under IT Act.


Due to dynamic situations, the laws need to be regularly updated because the people will always come up with some new ways of disrupting the calm. The recent availability of unlimited data and smartphones has increased the problems for lawmakers as now there are certainly new challenges posed to these existent Laws. Some of these are listed below:

Data privacy- Recently, it was stated that some of the WhatsApp employees were found Seeing video calls of people. Though, WhatsApp has end to end encryption coma there is still complaint regarding data privacy do Supreme Court in the case of KS Puttaswamy v Union of India[17] held that right to privacy is a fundamental right it seems it was let less of a use as there are major complaints regarding the same query recently being the case against Aarogya Setu app. [18]

Juveniles committing crimes– Easy access to social media two teenagers has brought a major setback to the society as these teenagers knowingly or unknowingly involve themselves in situations that are harming to themselves as their family. Problem is, there have not been many laws made regarding these as at the time when the Act was being made the teenagers were not subject to such platforms. The recent ‘bois locker room’ case[19] is a classic example of Juvenile crimes and lack of awareness.

Media Trial– Media trials happen in India and the accused is declared convicted before the actual proceedings of the court starts. This poses a great threat to the society as they might even get acquitted but his or her image is already tempered and has to live with this broken identity for the whole life thus, being subject to mental agony and stress. Media trials are really detrimental to a person’s identity and there is a serious need to curb such trials and let the quotes do their job. The very recent case where a boy lost his life due to such trial[20] is an example of how detrimental it can be.

Cyber Bullying– Cyberbullying and stalking are rampant on social media and because people on social media tend to demand for greater privacy, cannot trace all the accounts and do so, they have to be reported separately. The problem lies that mainly females are subject to cyberbullying and stalking which people feel to be very normal and tend to ignore whereas it is very detrimental to one’s mental health. Section 354 of IPC provides for stalking but the case being different it is still a dilemma whether to apply it or not.


Awareness needs to be raised regarding social media and its correct use. The laws should be updated according to the recent needs of the society and new laws should be made if the need be.  The present system should be upgraded and the recent changes in the technology should be taken into account while drafting these legislations. A midway should be sought as to how to maintain privacy along with catching the wrongdoers. Thus, this is how we will reach towards a better society and reach a greater good.

[1] Cyber Laws In India. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 14 September 2020].

[2]UN General assembly, A/RES/51/162 available at  [Accessed 14 September 2020].

[3] Section 66B, Information Technology Act 2000 (Act of parliament) India

[4] Section 425, Indian Penal Code 1860

[5] Section 43, Information Technology Act 2000 (Act of parliament) India

[6] Section 66, Information technology Act 2000(Act of parliament) India

[7] Section 378, Indian Penal Code 1860

[8] Section 424, Indian Penal Code 1860

[9] Section 66C, Information Technology Act 2000 (Act of parliament) India

[10] Section 419, Indian penal code 1860

[11] Section 420, Indian Penal Code 1860

[12] Section 66B, Information Technology Act 2000 (Act of parliament) India

[13] Section 43(h), Information technology Act, 2000 (Act of parliament) India

[14] Section 65 Information technology Act, 2000 (Act of parliament) India

[15] Section 66E Information technology Act, 2000 (Act of parliament) India

[16]SharatBabu Digumarti vs Govt Of Nct Of Delhi criminal appeal no. 1222 2016

[17] KS puttaswamy v Union of India, writ petition (civil) NO 494 OF 2012

[18] New plea in the Kerala High Court against the Aarogya Setu App, as accessed on 15 august 2020

[19] Bois locker Room Case: Delhi Policy files FIR after girl receives threat on social media, as accessed on 15th august 2020

[20] Gurugram teen commits suicide,purportedly due to social media post by friend, as accessed on 14 august 2020