Thursday, June 4, 2009

Wrong Cyber Crime Prosecutions Is becoming a Trend in India

This article analyzes the disturbing trend in India of launching prosecution against cyber crimes on the basis of laws that do not exist. A clarification from the Department of Information Technology (DIT) of the Government of India was sought in this regard but there was no reply. The net result is that we are witnessing prosecutions that are not justified by any law in India. This situation shows that there is a dire need of training of police personnel that is presently missing all over India. Cyber crimes require good techno-legal knowledge that is presently missing. We have to do much more than mere “declarations of sufficiency” and claim of opening of cyber crimes police stations and cells.

The Mumbai police registered a case of “cyber terrorism” when a threat email was sent to the BSE and NSE. It can proudly claim to be the first in the State since an amendment to the Information Technology Act has been proposed. The bigger question is how can police consider, much less utlilze, the provisions of a law that has “not come into force yet”? Till the Information Technology Amendment Act, 2008 is “notified” by the Central Government under section 1(2) of the proposed amendments, the amendments cannot come into force. And till the amendments cannot come into force, we cannot apply the provisions contained in it. Then how come the Mumbai police is booking the accused under the amended law?



Tech Savvy Police Station In Mumbai: The Reality

Cyber law awareness is missing not only among the general public but also among the police force and media personnel. The biggest challenge before the police is to get itself acquainted with the basic cyber law of India. It is senseless to claim themselves trained in cyber law when they are not even aware what the India cyber law is all about. Even the Department of Information Technology (DIT) and Government of India (GOI) are “responsible” for “deliberately misleading” the people, media and police force.

Perhaps law enforcement in India is “too much trained” for cyber law and cyber crimes and hence applying their own laws and notions to cases that does not attract these stringent provisions at all. It seems the Mumbai police and its partner NASSCOM needs at, least 5 more years to acquaint themselves with the basics of cyber law of India. As far as techno-legal expertise is concerned, that may remain a dream forever.