Most of the complaints that I hear these days are about cyberbullying—Film stars, sports stars, common people (layman), government employees, students, and the list goes on.
What is cyberbullying? Cyberbullying is a criminal activity or a mental disorder that is most common nowadays. This can happen anywhere at any time at any place—it might be through a phone call, as a text message, through social media, or through website. The mental and social trouble that it causes is not that trivial; it is quite severe!
We can understand it through a small example. When I write or express my views on the religion or the party that I believe in, or about my country, and if someone who doesn’t like my views express their dislike by commenting under my post in abusive language (not necessarily abusive words), that can be considered cyberbullying. (OR If someone comments in an abusive language under my post related to my views on the religion or the party that I believe in, or about my country, it can be considered cyberbullying.) The posts that prompt somebody to abuse someone else can also be considered cyberbullying.
In my opinion, cyberbullying has three major components:
Often people in the social, cultural, arts and sports fields, who express their standpoint publicly, fall victims to cyberbullying.
If this is the scenario in 2012 and 2014, one can imagine from the above-mentioned survey results what would likely be the condition (or scene) in 2018. Undoubtedly, cyberbullying is going to turn out to be a social disaster. We can say that the huge gap in the cyber law is the reason why we are not able to defend this in India now.
Section 66A provides punishment for any kind of exchange that is annoying, offensive and insulting. But I am of the opinion that this is not enough although most people consider it as a draconian law.
We can use some other laws of the Indian legal system to defend and punish such acts.
As time progresses, changes happen to the society, social systems and social animals. These changes can be good, bad and worse. Crimes against children are increasing at an alarming rate. The fact is that most people don’t have the sense of discretion as to he/she is a child, he/she has less mental strength and one shouldn’t behave likewise. Although people in our country don’t get enough food to eat, they show eagerness to extend their data validity and there is no age or gender difference for this tendency.
Some among us (I meant only a small fraction of the billions of people of my country India, not the majority) do not even spare the children while using the platforms like social media. An example for this is, say, there happens to be a news related to a child in the internet or a child posted something in the social media. When someone feels that the post doesn’t match with his views, or that he dislikes it, or that he feels it is in any way better than his’(Please forgive me that I could not express satisfactorily what I truly intended to), it is shocking that he is not reluctant to respond in the most cruel way. If this is to be understood well, recall the incident that happened recently in Ernakulam—a Facebook post by a private-bank employee on the child who was murdered in the Kathua rape case in Kashmir (I don’t intend to talk more in detail regarding this). Our intolerant mind that insults others if their views are against ours ought to exhibit a terrible mental disability. Nowadays, most schools and colleges in Kerala provide their students with classes on how to deal with cybercrimes and cyberbullying. I had to take such classes all across Kerala. Students, their parents and teachers shared their experiences publicly or personally with me during these sessions. Some people deliberately close their eyes against such crimes; some others keep it in their minds, which lead to mental conflicts; whereas some others go into depression or is led to suicide.
First of all, Indian cyber law needs to go a long way. The systems and technologies that existed when Indian IT Act 2000 was defined are not what we see today. We couldn’t even imagine the concept of mobile internet in 2000. But we live in an era where we dream of 5th generation internet. It is high time that majority of the IT Acts that exist today needs to be redefined.
For this, the first and the foremost thing that needs to be done is that cyberbullying should be clearly and aptly defined. Computer, computer-related equipment/instruments, mobile phone and internet should also be included in the definition.
Then, what we need is to frame child-friendly laws for children. Topics like how cyberbullying causes harm to our society and children need to be well explained. It would be better to form a committee for this that includes child-right activists, human rights activists, law enforcement people, cyber security experts, lawyers and legalists.
If we look upon S66 A in another way, it disrupts freedom of speech. The main reason for this is that the ‘crime’ doesn’t have a clear definition in the law. In my opinion, freedom of speech should not be humiliating a person, society or religion. Ever since social media had introduced the feature of live function, many people express their thoughts and opinions against a lot a matters; people take the role of a self-media. The words and phrases people use often cross the limits of decency/politeness. Similarly, certain YouTube channels do the same to increase the number of subscribers, by publishing news of any sort. I strongly believe that if laws are clear enough people wouldn’t even dare to engage in such kind of activities.
Below are some of my opinions on this: