DEFAMATION IN CYBER SPACE

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By Yathaarth Raj Khurana from Chanderprabhu Jain College of Higher Studies and School of Law

  1. INTRODUCTION

First we have to understand the term ‘Cyber Defamation’. The Term cyber defamation defines publishing of false statement about any individual person in cyberspace that can abuse or dominated the reputation of any person. If we talk about the India, in India Defamation defined in both the offences that is Criminal offence and Civil offence. Thus, Any legal remedies are provided to the victims by the Indian Judiciary system.

Now we understand in detail that is :-

1)What do you mean by the term ‘Defamation’?

The Term Defamation is about any publication form either by orally or written about a individual person and that publication is harmful to the person’s reputation in the society, so that is known as Defamation. Some essential elements given of the Defamation and that is:-

1)The statement must be defamatory in nature.

2)This Statement must be only preferred to the plaintiff .

3) The Statement must be publication and that publication is related to the defamatory matter, which is coming to the knowledge of the third party.

2)Types of Defamation

There are two types of Defamation and that is:-

1)Libel :- Those Statement which defamation is openly in nature and that defamation is in the written form that is known as Libel.

2)Slander :- Those statement which defamation is in form of verbally or spoken communication that is known as Slander.

Thus, the fundamental difference between both the types are the medium and it is expressed in two ways that is oral and written.

3)Cyber Defamation

We all know that social media is spreading everywhere not in India but it across all over the world. The Growth of the Internet has provided people to express their opinions, thoughts and feelings through many times of forms of publications. The facility of attainable and publication in the online world and it has created so many risks at these digital platforms are liable to be exploited by immoral internet users in the name of freedom and speech expression.

As we all know that cyber defamation is a new concept but according to traditional definition of Defamation is injury caused to the reputation of a person according to the third person and that injury can be done in the form of oral, written, signs and visible representations. The statement must be preferred to the plaintiff and the reputation must be low down against that person which the statement has been made. But on the other side, cyber defamation involves defaming a person through a new and more effective method such as the use of modern electronic devices. It referred to the publishing of defamatory material against any person in cyberspace or with the help of computers or internet. If a person is publishing any kind of defamatory statement against any other person on a website or send e-mails carry defamatory material to that person and to whom the statement has been made and it would equal to cyber defamation.

4)Liability in Cyber Defamation

According to India, a Defamation can be liable in both the cases that is Civil and Criminal.

1)Indian Penal Code

i)According to Indian Penal Code, 1860, Definition of Defamation is defined under section- 499. Whoever by words, either spoken or intended to be read or by signs and depicts representations makes and publishing any reputation and it is concerned any person intending to harm or injury or having reason to believe that such reputation will harm the reputation of such person is said so that is known as Defamation.

ii)According to section 500 of Indian Penal Code, 1860 Any person is committed the Defamation then his/her will be liable for this punishment of Defamation with imprisonment of two years or with fine or both.

iii)According to section -469 which deals with the forgery. If any person has created the false document or false record by which it harms the reputation of a person. The punishment for this can be increased above 3 years or fine or with both.

iv)Section 503 of Indian Penal Code, 1860 also deals with criminal intimidation. This offence deals with the criminal intimidation by the use of electronic device means to reputation’s damage and means to reputation one’s in the society.

2)Information Technology Act, 2000

In 2015, the law has been declared illegal or unenforceable by the Supreme Court. This section stated punishment for sending insulting or offensive messages through a computer, mobile or tablet. The government did not clear the word offensive. The government started using it as a tool to suppress freedom of speech. In 2015, This full section was declared or suppressed by the Supreme Court.

If a person has libel or scandal or defamed in cyber space, he can file a case to the cyber crime investigation cell. It is also the unit of the Crime Investigation Department.

5)Problems and Issues in Cyber Defamation

Ourterrific increasing dependency on the internet and it is for the use of social networking sites have been created so many legal issues in the country. According to the context of Defamation, the biggest person can figure out the person who has intended to harm our reputation or the third party who has read the defamatory statement as to when it comes to some website pages such as blogs, article other media sites including newspaper or magazines. This bloggers can be transparent or it can choose to keep their names or identifies without any name to protect themselves.

If it appears on someone ‘s blogs it is very hard to determine the person who has published the statement. That thing is more challenging to readers who leaves comments on blogs or online news articles and according to the most sites where the sites do not need people to use their real names or provide any important information including name, location or e-mail address. If anyone do same thing they could give false information. Thus it becomes very difficult to track these people. If a defamatory statement has made for once time and it gets published on any sites such as Facebook, email-address etc. It gets circulated very fast and also read by so many number of people causing damage to another person against whom the statement has been made.

6)What forms of defamatory publications are valid by courts in India?

According to Section 65A and 65 B of the Indian Evidence Act –

1)Online Chats are also Valid.

2)Electronic Mails are also valid.

3)Any Electronic things which are printed on a paper or recorded or copied in magnetic media shall be given as a document and it shall be valid by court.

7)Some Suggestions and Advices to improve the laws and some devices related to Cyber Defamation in India

It is an advice or recommended to have an independent cyber crime investigation cell which is under the CBI that is Central Bureau of Investigation and it needs to be set up on its own so that it comes directly under the central government and it is also specific deal with cyber crimes including the cyber defamation. Cyber Cell police stations should be there in each and every part of India which is headed by Investigation officers and that officers are well practical with cyber laws so that it will help them to handle the criminals on time. Some awareness Programs should be started by the government to inform the people about the cyber crimes and it is also about the safeguards that should be taken to protect themselves.

If special cyber courts are established so, Judiciary can also play a important role and these courts established with those judges who has knowledge regarding the special technical things and by this it can run over these courts easily. So there is a need to train judicial officers, by personally police settle cases of cyber crime more efficiently and actively. From time to time information and technology is changing and people need to get updated with its development. So that we need to change existing laws to keep speed with technology and to stop such crimes happening and affecting the people at largely.

Now we studied one case law about the Cyber Space Defamation and that is:-

8)Kalandi Charan Lenka Vs State of Odisha, 16th January, 2017

In this case, the petitioner was continuously being stalked, and a fake account of her was created later and rude messages were sent to the friends by the criminal. A transform nude picture was also posted on the walls of the hostel where the victim had stayed. So, the court held that criminal was liable for this offence and he was punishable under Section-294 of Indian Penal Code 1860 that is obscene acts and messages.

9)Employers Liability Issue

In the case of SMC Limited. V. Jogesh Kwatra, some disrespectful remarks were sent by the employee to the employers and other helpful things of the company, and they have been controlled by the Delhi High Court from carrying any type of communication to the plaintiff. This order of Delhi High Court was assumed and this order was the first time who has assumed by the Delhi High Court and an Indian Court imagined the jurisdiction in a case of cyber defamation and it allows an ex-parte injunction and it controlled the defendant from defaming the plaintiff by disallowing him to send any disrespectful things, abusive things and obscene emails to the plaintiff. Thus, the court held that the employer was not held indirectly liable and as the defendant was not acting as a part of his employment and it was closed on a playful paragraph of his own.

10)Conclusion

Now we have studied the term of Defamation and Cyberspace Defamation. Defamation defines if any person has made false statement against any private person in the form of spoken or written and the reputation will harm of that private person so, that is known as Defamation. After that we studied about the cyber defamation that is publishing of false statement about any private or individual person in cyber space and that statement can abuse or harm the reputation of that individual person so that defamation is known as Cyber Space defamation. We also have studied that According to Indian law, Defamation is included in both the offences that is Civil offence and Criminal offence. Defamation is classified into two types that is Libel which is in written form and Scandal which is in oral form. Any Legal remedies are provided to the victims by the Indian Judicial System. We have also studied the essential elements of the Defamation that is the statement must be only preferred to the plaintiff, this Statement must be defamatory in nature etc. According to Indian Penal Code, 1860 Defamation defined under section 499 and under section 500 defined the Punishment for Defamation. Some Sections of Indian Penal Code included in this that is Section 469 which is deal with forgery and Section 503 which is deal with criminal intimidation. Some problems and issues have raised in the cyber space defamation that in the 21st century internet is spreading each and everywhere not in India but it across the world. All social networking sites are available in the today’s time. This bloggers can be transparent or it can choose to keep their identifies or names without any name to protect themselves. All defamatory publications are valid either online chats, online emails and any electronic things which are printed on a paper or recorded or copied in magnetic media shall be considered as a document amd under the law that document is valid. So these defamatory publications are valid by the Indian court. Thus, we have studied that judiciary can also play a important role in cyber space defamation because if special cyber courts are established in our country so, those judges are sitting in that courts who has knowledge regarding the technical things and they can handle all the cases which is related to the cyber space. So we studied all these things in the cyber space defamation and According to Indian Law, so many provisions have made related to the cyber space defamation.

11)References

1)https://blog.ipleaders.in/cyber-defamation-india-issues/

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