Thursday, August 15, 2013
CYBER CRIME AGAINST WOMEN BY DEBARATI HALDER
While the whole nation celebrated the independence day today amidst various positive ways I found an extremely encouraging information which I intended to share with my blog readers, especially women. The Hon’ble Principle Sessions Judge of Chennai has finally denied bail petition for an offender who dared to create a fake profile in the Facebook. No, it was not a case of typical victimisation of women through creation of fake profiles; but it is the other way round: this youth acted as an actor in the Facebook. He impersonated the actor by taking up his screen name “Shantnu Khan” with a slight modification by adding an ‘a’ after‘t’ in the name. When the unreal Shant(a)nu Khan contacted the fans and acquaintances through the fake profile, little did any one notice about the spelling mistake. When he finally won the confidence of his targets he posed as an actor in distress who needed monetary help to redefine his life; something typical that we get to see in Nigerian phishing cases through emails. By his appealing presence in the Facebook, he could finally gain a little fortune.(See http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/tp-tamilnadu/youth-denied-bail-in-fake-facebook-account-case/article5024422.ece). He was arrested by the central crime branch of the police in Chennai who mainly applied S.420 of the Indian penal code which prescribes punishment for cheating and S.66 of the Information technology Act, which prescribes punishment for computer related offences which are referred in S.43 of the information technology Act. The words that are highlighted by both these provisions of the information technology Act while emphasising upon offences are ‘fraudulently’ and ‘dishonestly’. This made up actor duped some for unethical gain through these two ways and he was rightly booked under these provisions. Now note that while S.66 of the Information technology Act is a bailable offence, S.420 of the Indian penal code is a non-bailable and cognizable offence. Interestingly many times crimes booked under both these provisions may be similar in nature, but due to the drafting the laws, the traditional law prescribes stricter punishment than the new law meant for cyber crimes. But this is not a new type of case. If the readers (especially from the Chennai region) can remember the Chennai Romeo case ( See http://newindianexpress.com/cities/chennai/article543074.ece) , the similarities in the pattern of trapping the victims can be found. But in this case, the youth is intelligent enough to do a better homework. The Hon’ble judge has taken right decision in denying the bail. He actually created a good example to show how crime reporting by victims can influence the reporting agency, i.e, the police; and how proper application of the best provisions of laws can finally help the judge to decide the fate of the case.
I have seen that many cases of victimisation of women through creation of fake profiles die premature deaths with the victim unwilling to report. Nonetheless, few cases targeting the reputation of women take a turn such as this one where S.420 of the IPC can be applied straightaway. But at the same time, it would neither be correct to say that provisions meant to safeguard online reputation including that of women are worthless laws. Needless to say, women victims can make a huge change in sentencing in such cases if they clearly narrate the whole victimisation and the police cooperate accordingly. Belief in criminal justice system as well as awareness of the police and the victim are key elements to prevent crimes and this is no exception in cases of cyber victimisation of women. Let this 15th August reinstate the courage in women.
Happy Independence Day!
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