Among metros, B'luru saw most cybercrimes under IT Act in 2016

Among metros, B'luru saw most cybercrimes under IT Act in 2016

In 2016,  Bengaluru reported the highest number of cybercrimes under the Information Technology Act, whose  effectiveness in deterring digital offenders is under serious dispute.  

National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) figures show that 762 cybercrimes in Bengaluru were reported under the 2000 law. In all, the city reported 782 cybercrimes. Mumbai accounted for 980 cases, but just 24 under the IT Act.  The Indian Penal Code (IPC) was invoked for the rest.  

Interestingly, the Bengaluru police registered 148 cases under Section 66A of the IT Act, which the Supreme Court struck down three years ago. This section made sending offensive messages through communication services punishable.

As many as 278 cases were registered under Section 66D for cheating using a computer resource.

That Bengaluru registered the highest number of cases under the IT Act comes in the backdrop of the home ministry issuing an advisory recommending users to uninstall 42 mobile apps that may help launch an all-out cyber attack in the country.

"All cases under the IT Act are cognizable. That's not the case with the IPC where most cases are non-cognizable," said Prashant Mali, a Bombay High Court lawyer and cyber policy expert. "Technically, as per  the Supreme Court judgement in Sharath Babu  vs Digubar, the IT Act is a special piece of legislation. There's no need to file cases under the IPC."

Pavan Duggal, president at cyberlaws.net and an advocate in the Supreme Court, said: "The IT Act does not provide deterrence to cybercrimes.  In fact, after the amendment in 2008, the majority of offences were made bailable. That's why police register cybercrimes under the IPC as it is non-bailable. They prefer to book under the IPC rather than the IT Act."

Dhananjay K V, another advocate in the Supreme Court, said:  "Both are central laws.  The Bengaluru police seem to be overresponding to the IT Act. But unnecessary aggressiveness is unwarranted as the IPC is very old and stronger than the IT Act. Police should not just stick to the IT Act when it comes to cybercrimes but should also invoke the IPC as it is more stringent."  

 

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