Tag: Information technology Act

Is using electronic payment mode mandatory?


We are facing challenge of Covid-19 restrictions. A whole generation is facing another unique challenge. Many senior citizens and people from socio-backward classes and communities are unable to exercise their basic right to life because they may be unable to use the electronic payment mechanisms.

By the end of 1990’s electronic commerce started getting popularity and almost by the first half of the millennium, banks of several countries had expanded their services for electronic money transactions. Soon plastic money in the forms of ATM, credit, debit cards etc., were introduced and the smart generation started relying more on plastic money rather than carrying currency in their wallets. But this proved dangerous for majority. There were physical theft of wallets and the cards, misuse of the cards, hacking of e banking systems which directly affected the card operating systems, ATM machines were unauthorizedly accessed, spycams were installed in the machines to detect the banking information including the passwords etc. Senior citizens were worst affected as most of them in countries like India could not operate the e-banking system or the cards: either they could not understand the operational mechanisms or they were not physically able to conduct the entire transactions either through the ATMs, or through their smart devices. This was due to generation gap.

With the advancement of technology, e wallets were introduced. Through online banking mechanisms, one can deposit a particular amount of money in e—wallets. However, this would not be operating as a single and independent device or mechanism. Users may connect their valid government identity proofs with e-wallets. Such e-wallets may necessarily be used through computers, smart phones etc.[1]Everything remains virtual except the device/s that will help a user to access the online transaction mechanisms. It has been continuously stated that plastic money, e-wallets and e-banking systems are safe and better than carrying the currency.

But do we really know who is safeguarding our money in this system? A few provisions Chapter III of our very own Information Technology Act, 2000(amended in 2008) would make this clear. Chapter III discusses about electronic governance. S.6A of the Information Technology Act (IT Act), 2000, amended in 2008 is noteworthy here: it says as follows:

6A Delivery of services by service provider. –

(1) The appropriate Government may, for the purposes of this Chapter and for efficient delivery of services to the public through electronic means authorise, by order, any service provider to set-up, maintain and upgrade the computerised facilities and perform such other services as it may specify by notification in the Official Gazette. Explanation. -For the purposes of this section, service provider so authorised includes any individual, private agency, private company, partnership firm, sole proprietor firm or any such other body or agency which has been granted permission by the appropriate Government to offer services through electronic means in accordance with the policy governing such service sector.

(2) The appropriate Government may also authorise any service provider authorised under sub-section (1) to collect, retain and appropriate such service charges, as may be prescribed by the appropriate Government for the purpose of providing such services, from the person availing such service.

(3) Subject to the provisions of sub-section (2), the appropriate Government may authorise the service providers to collect, retain and appropriate service charges under this section notwithstanding the fact that there is no express provision under the Act, rule, regulation or notification under which the service is provided to collect, retain and appropriate e-service charges by the service providers.

(4) The appropriate Government shall, by notification in the Official Gazette, specify the scale of service charges which may be charged and collected by the service providers under this section: Provided that the appropriate Government may specify different scale of service charges for different types of services.


Online transactions for e-commerce purposes are directly connected with the concept of service delivery by service providers. S.6A has got two main component parts: (i) authorization to the service providers by the government to set up provisions for delivery of services in the electronic mode; and (ii) collection of service charges by the service charges. Whenever we get to see a smooth or a bumpy operation of services from the banks or from any other government or corporate authorities, we must know that there is a secret team behind that government department, bank or the corporate authority. They may be independent agencies who are commissioned by such government /bank/corporate authorities. These ‘secret teams’ perform all the technical functions for economic transactions, maintenance of the records for money transactions, maintenance of cyber security issues etc.,  and they are duty bound to not to violate the confidentiality of the user-data. Intact there are layers of contracts between the actual user and the bank/government/company, between such service provider and the actual users and the government etc. We know only the first layer of contracts and agreements between us, the actual users and the bank/government /company etc., who are providing us certain services or even goods. But there are several examples of violating the agreements and contracts. These ‘service providers’ know us more than we know ourselves because they know our bank details, our spending habits and even our location data too.

Considering the risk for breaching of confidentiality in all such cases S.7A of the IT Act, 2000(amended in 2008) has prescribed for auditing of documents etc., maintained in electronic forms. This Section says as follows:

“7A Audit of documents, etc., maintained in electronic form. -Where in any law for the time being in force, there is a provision for audit of documents, records or information, that provision shall also be applicable for audit of documents, records or information processed and maintained in the electronic form.”

But this is hugely neglected by many stakeholders and this loophole creates several data breaching related legal issues. The Indian legislature has also brought in the Intermediary guidelines Rules, 2021 which also shifts the liability for data protection for intermediaries in certain cases.

However, we must not forget that there is digital divide in our societies. Adults including men, women and people belonging to LGBTQ communities may not always access information and digital communication systems and services. This is a universal problem. Women may not be empowered to use electronic devices in socio-economically backward classes and communities. Not to forget that even though Indian constitution mandates for equal pay for all, women may not always get equal pay in unorganized sectors. Many households in India as well as in many Asian countries do not allow women to take any decision related to family-finances.  But there are situations when people are forced to use electronic payment/transaction systems. Covid-19 pandemic is one such situation where the WHO advised to reduce usage of anything which may transmit the viruses from people to people: reduction of usage of currency notes were also suggested as it was understood that the materials in the currency notes may get wet with sweat, saliva etc., and this may be extremely dangerous since it might increase the risk of spreading of pandemic. But there are new researches coming up every day which are suggesting how to take precautions while dealing with papers (including materials which are used to make currency notes) or clothes during pandemic times.

In all such cases, aren’t our constitutional rights get violated if the government or any other stakeholder insists on e-transactions? It actually does.

Answer to this question may be found in S.9 of the IT Act, 2000(amended in 2008). This says as follows:

Sections 6, 7 and 8 not to confer right to insist document should be accepted in electronic form.-Nothing contained in sections 6, 7 and 8 shall confer a right upon any person to insist that any Ministry or Department of the Central Government or the State Government or any authority or body established by or under any law or controlled or funded by the Central or State Government should accept, issue, create, retain and preserve any document in the form of electronic records or effect any monetary transaction in the electronic form.

Nonetheless, the above mentioned provision empowers all who may not be able to use or who may want to refuse the use of electronic payment system. But this may not always be considered as the Rule: this is rather Exceptio probat regulam (an exception proves the rule) in the era of internet. Even though the government and other corporate stakeholders may extend their services on humanitarian grounds to help those who may not be able to use the digital payment systems or the e-wallets etc., people’s trust may easily be broken by gross misuse of the powers that such ‘helpers’ may have: ATM debit cards may be stolen, data may be compromised, e-wallets may be illegally operated by such ‘volunteers’ who may want to gain illegal and unethical profits at the cost of innocent people.

It will take longer time to make people from all backgrounds aware about electronic payment modes. It will probably take even longer to control cyber criminality targeting vulnerable people. One must not violate the legal norms and constitutional principles to make the right to life of others almost unachievable. Vulnerable groups including senior citizens, disabled people, socio-economically backward communities, women and children must be given enough protection to gain their trust so that all can survive and win over adverse situations.

Please note: Please  do not violate the copyright of this writeup. Please site it as Halder Debarati (2021) Is using electronic payment mode mandatory?  Published @ https://debaraticyberspace.blogspot.com/2021/04/is-using-electronic-payment-mode.html on 22-04-2021

Court system under the Information Technology Act, 2000 (amended in 2008) by Dr.Debarati Halder

Often I have been asked by victims, stakeholders and students of law about the jurisdictions of the courts and court system as a whole under the Information Technology Act, 2000 (Amended in 2008). This query carries great significance especially at a time when subscribers, consumers and civil society members are facing numerous problems due to data theft, data diddling, and data leaking etc. by the body corporate, intermediary and service providers themselves. Such issues of piercing the veil of cyber security and data privacy due to inefficient data protection mechanism of the body corporate may in turn help individual predators and even criminal gangs to target individuals including women and children to make it a large scale offence. Let us consider the case of Facebook facial recognition case in the US : even though Facebook as a company has been strongly contesting the case, the federal appeals court has given a green signal  for this class suit whereby Facebook can be prosecuted for infringement of data privacy  and would be liable to pay a huge compensation to the petitioners.[1]  What we understand from here is, such cases in the field of cyber law, may be dealt by courts in the nature of civil cases as well as in the nature of criminal cases.

In India, the primary regulatory provision for cyber issues is the Information Technology Act, 2000(amended in 2008) (IT Act, 2000, amended in 2008). This provision indicates that there are two types of authorities and tribunals/courts who may handle cases in the nature of civil and criminal liabilities, i.e., civil and criminal court and tribunals . We may understand this typology by understanding the nature of the cases under the Information Technology Act first, which is as follows:

In the issue of civil nature of cases, the administrative tribunal system under the IT Act has three tiers.

As may be seen from the above flow chart, at the grass-root level is the Certifying Authorities. A licensed Certifying Authority (CA) who has been granted licence under S.24, issues the digital signature certificates. CAs are controlled by Controllers, who are appointed by central government under S.17 of the Act. This provision also mentions about the appointment deputy /assistant controllers who should work under the instructions of the Controller.

Functions and responsibilities of the controller can be discussed under three broader heads:

S.18 of the IT Act provides essential functions of the Controller. Apart from S.18, there are certain other provisions under the IT Act, which speaks about other responsibilities and powers of the Controller.  The functions under S.18 are as under:

  • Exercising supervision over the activities of the Certifying Authorities;
  • Certifying public keys of the Certifying Authorities;
  •  Laying down the standards to be maintained by the Certifying Authorities;
  • Specifying the qualifications and experience which employees of the Certifying Authority should possess;
  • Specifying the conditions subject to which the Certifying Authorities shall conduct their business;
  •  Specifying the contents of written, printed or visual materials and advertisements that may be distributed or used in respect of an Electronic Signature Certificate and the public key;
  • Specifying the form and content of an Electronic Signature Certificate and the key;
  • Specifying the form and manner in which accounts shall be maintained by the Certifying Authorities;
  •  Specifying the terms and conditions subject to which auditors may be appointed and the remuneration to be paid to them;
  •  Facilitating the establishment of any electronic system by a Certifying Authority either solely or jointly with other Certifying Authorities and regulation of such systems;
  •  Specifying the manner in which the Certifying Authorities shall conduct their dealings with the subscribers;
  •  Resolving any conflict of interests between the Certifying Authorities and the subscribers;
  •  Laying down the duties of the Certifying Authorities;
  •  Maintaining a database containing the disclosure record of every Certifying Authority containing such particulars as may be specified by regulations, which shall be accessible to public.

As such, other than the functions mentioned above, the Controller may also have the following powers and functions:

  • Controller may also recognize the foreign certifying authorities with prior approval from the government under S.19.
  • Controller is the authority to suspend license of the CA in case of any discrepancies in the function of the CA under S.25
  • Controller has power investigate contraventions or authorize any officer to do the same under S.28.
  • Controller may also access to computer and data under S.29 if he has reasonable cause to suspect for any contravention of the provisions etc.

Apart from this, controller also has powers for dispute resolution: As such, .controllers can take over matter for regulating and resolving any conflict of interests between the Certifying Authorities and the subscribers.

Adjudicators along with the controllers form the second tier of tribunal system for civil nature of cases under the IT Act.  Adjudicating officers are appointed by the Central Government under S.46 of the IT Act for holding inquiry (in the manner prescribed by the Central Government) in cases where any person has committed a contravention of any of the provisions of this Act or of any rule, regulation, direction or order made thereunder which renders him liable to pay penalty or compensation. Such officer should not be below the rank of a Director to the Government of India or an equivalent officer of a State Government.S.46 clearly mentions that no person shall be appointed as an adjudicating officer unless he possesses such experience in the field of Information Technology and legal or judicial experience as may be prescribed by the Central Government. The adjudicating officer appointed under S.46(1)  are empowered to exercise jurisdiction to adjudicate matters in which the claim for injury or damage does not exceed rupees five crore. In case the jurisdiction in respect of claim for injury or damage exceeds Rs. five crore, the jurisdiction to try such cases then shall vest with the competent court. Every adjudicating officer shall have the powers of a civil court which are conferred on the Cyber Appellate Tribunal under sub-section (2) of section 58. As such, all proceedings before the adjudicator (a) shall be deemed to be judicial proceedings within the meaning of sections 193 and 228 of the Indian Penal Code; (b) shall be deemed to be a civil court for the purposes of sections 345 and 346 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973. And (c) shall be deemed to be a Civil Court for purposes of order XXI of the Civil Procedure Code, 1908

But, the adjudicating officer cannot fix the quantum of punishment (especially fines, damages and compensation) at his own whimsies and fancies. S.47 says while adjudging the quantum of compensation under Chapter IX, the adjudicating officer shall have due regard to the following three factors, namely –

  • the amount of gain of unfair advantage, wherever quantifiable, made as a result of the default;
  • the amount of loss caused to any person as a result of the default;
  • the repetitive nature of the default

As such, adjudicators are responsible to handle cases of data infringement, unauthorised access to computer, offences to the computer (of civil nature), and fraudulent data leaking cases etc. under chapter IX of the IT Act.

At the top tier of the tribunals for dealing with cases of civil nature under the Information Technology Act, 2000(amended in 2008) exists the Cyber Appellate Tribunal. S.48 of the Information Technology Act, 2000 (amended in 2008) stated that the central government shall by notification establish one or more appellate tribunals to be known as Cyber Appellate Tribunal. However, it has been observed by several cyber law practitioners that the Cyber Appellate Tribunals in some places in India were not functioning properly. As such, since 2017 The Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) established under section 14 of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India Act, 1997 (24 of 1997), (TRAI Act) has substituted CAT & working as Appellate Tribunal for the purposes of IT Act. It also exercises the jurisdiction, powers and authority conferred on it by or under IT Act. The TDSAT shall consist of a Chairperson, and not more than two  members  to be appointed by the Central Government.[2] Prior to the coming into existence of  TDSAT within the meaning of Appellate tribunal under the IT Act, online High Court judges could  qualify  to be appointed as Chairpersons  of the cyber appellate tribunal as per S.50 of the IT Act. However,  presently  as per S.4 of the TRAI Act, the Chairperson and other members of the Authority shall be appointed by the Central Government  only if such candidate has special knowledge of, and professional experience in, telecommunication, industry, finance, accountancy, law, management or consumer affairs.  Further, a person who is, or has been, in the service of Government shall not be appointed as a member unless such person has held the post of Secretary or Additional Secretary, or the post of Additional Secretary and Secretary to the Government of India or any equivalent post in the Central Government or the State Government for a period of not less than three years (as per Proviso to S.4 of the TRAI Act). s. 57, IT Act, 2000(amended in 2008) speaks about the jurisdiction & limitations of the Appellate authority , which to large extent is practiced by the TDSAT now. According to S.57, any person aggrieved by an order made by controller or an adjudicating officer under this Act may prefer an appeal to Appellate Tribunal having jurisdiction in the matter. However, no appeal shall lie to the Appellate Tribunal from an order made by an adjudicating officer with the consent of the parties. Every appeal under 57(1) shall be filed within a period of forty-five days from the date on which a copy of the order made by the Controller or the adjudicating officer is received by the person aggrieved and it shall be in such form and be accompanied by such fee as may be prescribed. Appellate Tribunal may entertain an appeal after the expiry of the said period of forty-five days if it is satisfied that there was sufficient cause for not filing it within that period.

Court for dispute resolution of criminal nature: Information Technology Act, 2000(amended in 2008) does not specifically mention about any court which may handle cases of criminal nature under this Act. But S.77A of the Information Technology Act is mentionable here, which speaks  about  compounding of offences According to S.77A of the IT Act, 2000(amended in 2008), a court of competent jurisdiction may compound offences, other than offences for which the IT Act provides punishment for life or imprisonment for a term exceeding three years.  As per S.77A, the court however, shall not compound offences falling under the categories as below:

  • Where the accused is, by reason of his previous conviction, liable to either enhanced punishment or to a punishment of a different kind:
  • Where such offence affects the socio economic conditions of the country.
  •  Has been committed against a child below the age of 18 years or a woman.

S.77A(2) of the IT Act states that  a person accused of an offence under this Act may file an application for compounding in the court in which offence is pending for trial and the provisions of sections 265B and 265C of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (2 of 1974) shall apply. From the above discussion, it may be inferred that any competent criminal court under Cr.P.C which are competent to handle cases involving offences and punishments as has been prescribed under Chapter XI under the IT Act, may be considered as competent court for the purpose of this Act. Now, the question which may arise is, which criminal courts may handle cases of criminal nature under IT Act, 2000 (amended in 2008). For this, we may need to understand the patterns of punishments under Chapter XI of the IT Act, 2000 (amended in 2008). These can be listed as below:

  • Imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine which may extend to one lakh rupees, or with both.
  • 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
  • Imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three years and shall also be liable to fine which may extend to rupees one lakh.
  • Imprisonment which may extend to three years or with fine not exceeding two lakh rupees, or with both
  • Imprisonment up to three years, or with fine which may extend up to two lakh rupees, or with both.
  • Imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years or with fine which may extend to five lakh rupees or with both.
  • Imprisonment extending to imprisonment for life.
  • Imprisonment in first conviction of either description for a term which may extend to three years and with fine which may extend to five lakh rupees and in the event of second or subsequent conviction with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to five years and also with fine which may extend to ten lakh rupees.
  • On first conviction with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to five years and with fine which may extend to ten lakh rupees and in the event of second or subsequent conviction with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to seven years and also with fine which may extend to ten lakh rupees
  • Life imprisonment

Now, to find the answer as which court may try cases of criminal nature under the IT Act,  the above mentioned  list has to be matched with the powers of various criminal courts under Ss.28 & 29 of Cr.P.C. The powers of the courts under the Cr.P.C can thus be categorized as follows:

As such it may be understood that cybercrimes and offences recognised under Chapter XI with various degrees of punishment may be dealt by various criminal courts as has been discussed under Ss.28 and 29 of the Criminal Procedure Code. But, in such cases also, the aggrieved party (including the offender) may make an appeal to the appropriate courts including the Session’s court,  High Court and also to Supreme court. However, in case the offence includes any offence targeting children, then along with Information Technology Act, 2000(amended in 2008), provisions of Protection of Children from sexual offences Act may also be applied. In such cases, the offence may necessarily be dealt with by courts designated under POCSO Act : such courts may be Special Court or Children’s Court or the Sessions court itself.

Note: Please do not violate the copyright of this writeup. If you wish to use this writeup for your report/assignment/project etc, please refer it as Halder Debarati (2019) Court system under Information Technology Act, 2000 (amended in 2008). Published in http://www.internetlegalstudies.com on 12-08-2019


[1] For example see @https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2019/aug/09/facebook-facial-recognition-lawsuit-can-proceed-us-court?CMP=share_btn_fb&fbclid=IwAR3RvbLbL9TmFCkeBgypZORu4dRYnQNFvbWuFfIoQN1m-n80UlFO8_26qIk

[2] see http://dot.gov.in/actrules/telecom-regulatory-authority-indiatrai-act-1997

Beware of predators in the guise of information seekers


This afternoon I got a call from a sweet female voice. The girl claimed to have called from a nationalised bank and wanted to give me a good news. When I looked at the phone screen again I found that the number from where she is calling resembles the district code and also the area code of the central area of our city. When I concentrated again in her message she told me that my “son” had participated in a drawing competition and the bank authorities would like to come over to my home to present the certificate. I told her that I don’t have any son ! The voice from over the line politely confirmed “no it is your child”. I knew the whole episode is going to set another example of probable phishing activity or simple phone harassment and I grew more interested to learn how she did her home work. I firmly told there is no possibility of such participation from my “child”; she quizzed me on whether my child studies in the same school (she did very good homework regarding this), whether my house bears the same number (well she gets the full mark here to) and whether my husband is Jaishankar (full marks again) or not.. For a second I was dumbstruck… such a good home work !!!! I said “good, so you seem to know me so well .. now what do you want”?  The voice, which became a little shaky, said “we want to know when will you have free time so that we can come over” ? I stated “you can always see me here with my full battalion. And if you need any specific information why don’t you try calling my husband”? She was visibly taken aback and cut off the phone.
My dear readers, have you ever encountered such situations? I am not surprised by the informations this caller had gathered regarding my child’s school, my home address or even my own phone number; for in the era of informations technology, almost all of us are ‘open books’ about ourselves. I keep my Facebook, Orkut and Twitter accounts absolutely private; beyond my virtual friends, who are over 3 or 4 years old in having friendship with me, I don’t discuss anything about my child’s activities.  But you are bound to get shocks and even more shocks when these well kept ‘private’ informations are well ‘digested’ by strangers from various cloud sources; which may include friends of our ‘close friends’, postings in group walls of social networking sites, blog feeds about ourselves, emails and messages which may have been accessed from the recipient’s accounts if the said account is unauthorisedly monitored or hacked, or even phone hacking which is becoming tremendously popular now a days. Frightening…..isn’t it? For a moment I feared are they going to kidnap my child? Well, any mother would think so when the information about the child reaches back to the mother in polished or unpolished manner.  The next moment I knew what is was likely about, especially when I called back the number and I got to hear that this number is provided by some other private service provider and not the regular government supported telecom service provider. Praise the intelligence of the racket leader; the number which is being used in this fraud game is so accurately chosen that any layman would believe that this is from a land line telephone connection and may also be from the same “office” from where the caller claimed to have called.
What could be the result if I would have given the details of my stay at home? Well.. any unwanted thing could happen if such details are divulged; theft or  robbery, when the house is empty; forceful breaking in and physical assault, even rape of the woman of the house if the mischief mongers target a silent and lonely afternoon; physical phishing attack, i.e, the mischief monger comes over to house in the guise of a sales man or low level corporate staff and induces the inmate of the house to part with money by promising some good fortune or by handing over fraudulent certificate etc,.   

  Since past two three years, criminologists, researchers in the behavioural patterns of information technology users, lawyers etc have started vehement campaigning about related dangers that can happen from the excessive and unmonitored usage of  geo-location features  in the social networking sites such Facebook and also Google maps etc. Not to forget, one of the executing ‘device’ for creating/producing such dangerous situations can be the poor little hand phone also. In my book Cyber crime and the Victimization of Women: Laws, Rights, and Regulations. Hershey, PA, USA: IGI Global. ISBN: 978-1-60960-830-9 , I had stated that the third type of crime that can affect women especially besides non-sexually crimes and sexual crimes, is cyber assisted offline crimes (pg 20). This has been proved repeatedly………………….and I vouch from my own experiences now.       

Please Note: Do not violate copyright of this blog. If you would like to use informations provided in this blog for your own assignment/writeup/project/blog/article, please cite it as “Halder D. (2012), “Beware of predators in the guise of information seekers through phones ”, 24th April,2012, published in http://debaraticyberspace.blogspot.com/

No more slangs: it may land you in jail…….……….really?


The last page of the newspaper  The Hindu always offers some amusing news for me . Today was no exception. I was pleasantly “surprised” when I read the news “Pakistan bans 1,695 words on cellphone” ( see http://www.thehindu.com/news/international/article2642848.ece). The news report gave a strong suggestion that activists within Pakistan have condemned it. True, in any democratic country the government can not ban the freedom of expression unless it falls within the strict criteria of constitutionally frame-worked “banned words”. Further, the government can not suomotu shut the mouth of citizens unless it has been proved that some one/group of people are really hurt and such activities will bring in huge chaos in the country. But the news report further suggested that Pakistangovernment has taken this decision after a series of court orders came out  “favoring reasonable restrictions on the freedom of speech” . The Pakistantelecom authority (PTA) has ordered for content filtering for all the mobile phone service providers of some words including words like “Jesus Christ”.  Well, if this act is done to prevent mobile harassment especially for women, I am for it ( off course not for curbing other words which do not carry offending or sexually harassing or obscene motives). But one needs to see that whether this act of the government resulted from huge complaints from women regarding this. In Indiasending offensive communications via digital media is considered as an offence under section 66A. Along with this Section 509 of the IPC is  also  used in some cases when modesty of women are targeted, i.e, they are targeted with words which actually sounds very nasty. Not to forget the power of sections 69 and 69A of the Information Technology Act, 2008, which gives enough power to the government for intercepting, monitoring and even blocking the free flowing of informations through digi-tech services; India can also probably take up such action as her neighbor to prevent individuals from using slangs targeting women.   

Now, coming to the arguments against such government acts, I will sum up my points as below:

1.      women are targeted with slang words, men are neither spared. It has become a new fashion among some people to use abusive words, including slangs while texting or even speaking with friends……forget about the heated up arguments which often carry ‘unwanted words’.

2.     How far the government can check? Checking the usage of  words with double meaning  will become a huge task. Probably for this a new academic course would be needed to study the changing trend of  words with black and white meanings. Don’t forget, we in this peninsula speak both English and vernacular language and majority have excellent ability to use “Hinglish” to express thoughts.

3.     We get to see so much ***ing words/images in popular social networking sites which are hugely shared and also enjoyed by many of us… would government go ahead with banning these social networking sites too? Well, once Pakistan did ban Facebook for insulting Islam. But in India no such act was taken except the 2006 ban on an Orkut community which triggered tension for insulting the great Maratha king Chatrapati Shivaji. But note that Orkut as a site was not banned.

It is no wonder that the concept of unprotected speech and expression, seen from the aspect of Article 19(2)(v) under Indian constitution is becoming more narrowed. This provision speaks about curbing right to speech on the ground of morality and indecency. But at the same time, it lies upon the users of the free speech guarantee to use it in a proper fashion, so that the government need not step in to curb the right. Once the individual users, irrespective of their gender, decide the level of decency for usage of language themselves, the problem of objectionable words and government’s “Big Brother” attitude towards free speech guarantee may be  set at rest to a certain extent…..if not fully.     

Please Note: Do not violate copyright of this blog. If you would like to use informations provided in this blog for your own assignment/writeup/project/blog/article, please cite it as “Halder D. (2011), “No more slangs: it may land you in jail…….……….really?”20th November,2011, published in http://debaraticyberspace.blogspot.com/


Be aware of online mischief mongers


Not all come to the net for networking, increasing business rapport or discussing some serious issues which may include academic discussions, burning social discussions or even chit-chats. Some even come for satisfying their sexual passion too. Yes, internet IS the place where one can hide under anonymity and satisfy him/herself in a manner that was unthinkable even a couple of years back. In my six long years of extensively browsing the net and networking, I have encountered many men species of this kind. I do not shy away from discussing one such incidence which made me to “grow up” as a woman in the internet. It happened before the Facebook era when Orkut won the hearts of millions of Indians. I was no exception. The concept of privacy was in its infanthood and any one could chat, send friend’s request and see personal albums of anyone. I was approached by some fellow net users who felt that I look “attractive”. There were some more  messages which could make any woman’s cheek flush with anger, deep insult and a feeling of guilt……yes you read it correctly…feeling of guilt….for why did I not choose to be a “man” in the net. May be a profile picture of one of the great Khans, could save me. I instantly deleted my profile to get rid of the problem.… I discussed the issue with my husband who is a criminologist himself. Why some men prefer to communicate in this fashion which brings out their ugly passion for sexual chats with unknown women? Why do they choose internet as a platform to do this? The simple answer is, such men love to use the net to relax in a mischievous manner. These sorts of men randomly choose women’s profile to be friends with, to chat and satisfy their own sexual pleasure in this unique way. Well, the trend has not died down still now. It remains and will remain. 
As a lawyer and a researcher, I know every one has the “rights to sexual pleasure”. But there lies THE point. One can not use such language or activities which may sound/appear  offensive, obscene or sexually explicit to others. It is not uncommon situation where such men grow very angry when they do not receive proper response from the women with whom they are communicating. Resultant, they may start hurling chosen abusive language and even threaten the women to disclose the whole chat session in the web. Where does the whole stuff land then? From mischievous sexual pranks to serious cajoling of the women to ugly name calling and then finally to angry messages which convey nothing but threat to the woman in question……all in a day’s work you say ! Our Indian laws do make such communications illegal and penal. Section 66A of the Information Technology Act, 2000(amended in 2008) makes it illegal and penal to convey such offensive messages. Along with this, the Indian Penal Code also offers other legal provisions to teach the prankster a lesson, depending upon the nature of the conversation; not to forget  the  provisions scripted under section 67 series of the Indian information Technology Act, 2000(amended in 2008) , compounded with each other, which  can curb the ugly part of the right to sexual pleasure.
This Durga puja season may see many women browsing the net more than browsing the puja pandals  and the Durga temples. So all the daughters of Durga, be careful when you accidentally or even casually bump on such “asuras”, for awareness is the best weapon.
Please Note: Do not violate copyright of this blog. If you would like to use informations provided in this blog for your own assignment/writeup/project/blog/article, please cite it as “Halder D. (2011), “Be aware of online mischief mongers”, 6thOctober,2011, published in http://debaraticyberspace.blogspot.com/

The body language counts


Recently I was working on one of my papers on sexting. When I started searching for literature and related informations , I came across many sites ………..adult networking sites to be precise, where men and women are depicted as ‘entertaining objects’ for sexually gratifying the site’s viewers. Many of these sites had links titled ‘amateur videos’. I did not have time to research whether these links were really ‘amateur’ or they were created by matured revenge takers. But this is for sure that many women do fall in the pit due to such video communications. Some sites like Yahoo messenger, Skype , Gtalk etc , provide this unique opportunity to see and talk to ‘friends’, relatives, colleagues etc. Now a days such video communications have become easily accessible, which was unthinkable even 15 years back. But the truth is, this ‘easy accessibility’ has made the users of the modern communication device ‘feel free’ when in front of the computer screen. No, it is not the pre teens, teenagers or young adults alone, who may expose their skin too much in video chatting sessions, but  adult male and females also may expose themselves too much .
In my earlier blogs, I had written about how women tend to fall prey to sexually pervert ‘boyfriends’. One must remember that being emotionally over powered by some one completely unknown ( and even known acquaintances too) and exposing oneself in front of the web cam may be a foolish job that one may repent for later. At the same time, users, especially women must not exhibit such body language in front of the webcam that can be (mis)construed to mean that the women is actually ‘inviting’. Such body languages may include  intentionally bending too much in front of the camera by which  cleavages or parts of the breasts can be seen, throwing flying kisses (especially when a person completely unknown to the woman is chatting),  removing of the dress or parts of the dress and cuddling up the pillow when chatting etc. I know many women feel free in front of the computer when known friends appear for chat over the blue screen. But in the Skype especially, one can capture still pictures from video chattings. One can even record the whole video chatting  without letting the other user know that she is being ‘recorded’. This indeed gives a broad chance for misuse of ‘friendship’. In India, the penal code may restrict any such video clipping, still pictures etc , published in the   net which may portray women  in  obscene and vulgar fashion, by tagging it as ‘harming the modesty of women’ under section 509; the Information Technology Act may restrict such images by tagging it as conveying obscenity under section 67A and above all, the Indecent Representation of women Act may also be pulled in to save the woman in question. But do remember, voluntary invitation of trouble by using bad  body language will inevitably land the victim in deeper trouble even if there are laws to prevent to floating of such ‘moments’ in the net. Many women do repent the ‘opening up’ later. Hence  be casual  yet formal when in front of the webcam. Do not let anyone take advantage of your feminity  and do not convey the message that ‘I am available for messy situations’.
Please Note: Do not violate copyright of this blog. If you would like to use informations provided in this blog for your own assignment/writeup/project/blog/article, please cite it as “Halder D. (2011), “The body language counts”, 11th July,2011, published in http://debaraticyberspace.blogspot.com/