Trending: Call for Papers Volume 4 | Issue 3: International Journal of Advanced Legal Research [ISSN: 2582-7340]

Women Harassment In India’s Digital Space


India has moved towards digitalization, which has brought technical strength. People explore via the internet and make their lives simple and relaxed. They explore the unfamiliar and intermingle virtually, anywhere, anytime in the world with every person. Digital space has opened doors to cybercriminals, and cybercrime is a universal outbreak, and time and again women are their goals. 

Cybercrime and victimisation of women are on the rise with the arrival of technology and it poses a major challenge to a person’s safety as a whole. India is one of the very few countries to implement the IT Act 2000 to tackle cybercrime but this act still remains unbothered with regard to women. The said Act defined such offences as hacking, posting pornographic contents on the web interfering with information as punishable offences. But the significant threat to women’s defence, in general, is not enclosed completely under this Act.

“Cybercrime is a term for any illegal activity that uses a computer as its primary means of commission. It is an offence that is committed against individuals or groups of individuals with a criminal motive to intentionally harm the reputation of the victim or cause physical or mental harm to the victim directly or indirectly, using modern telecommunication networks such as the Internet.”


In plain language, any criminal activity that uses a processor as the major means of commission of offence can be regarded as cyber-crime. It is prolonged to take account of acts such as illicit wrongdoing on the internet, an infringement of internet laws, an illegal activity committed by the means of the internet, workstation crime, and infringement of any network law, internet bribery, and disturbance of performance via a malicious programme. Cyber-crimes may be perpetrated against individuals, possessions and administration. Below is a discussion of the prevalent forms of cyber-crimes:-

· Stalking via E-mail: It is not the latest notion. It is very close to letter-based abuse. This involves blackmailing, maltreatment, coercion, and even cheating through emails. While E-harassment is parallel to note aggravation, creates concern quite often when posted from fake ids.[i]

· Cyber pornography: This is the main risky to the female population. This may include pornographic websites or pornographic periodicals that are created to download & distribute pornographic photographs, pictures, writings, etc., “using computers to publish and print the material” on the Internet. Nearly 50% of websites currently contain pornographic content on the Internet. This makes the character of a woman unsafe as cyber criminals use women’s images to fix them with bare photographs or the photos and videos resemble that the woman only.[ii]

· Cyber Stalking: The secrecy that the internet provides support stalkers. He might “be on the other side of the earth, or a” friend “next door, or a relative” nearby! It includes tracking the movements of a person by means of the Internet by messaging comments (at times frightening) “on the victim’s bulletin boards, accessing the victim’s chat rooms, continuously” attacking “the victim with emails, etc.” The stalker, in general, seeks to inflict emotional harm and his messages serve no valid intent.[iii]

· Cyber Grooming: Cyber Grooming is when an entity develops an online relationship with a youthful individual and tricks or forces him or her to perform sexual acts.


The most affected victims in this era of technological advancement are females. Every domain of life now a day, begin & finish with digital involvement i.e. processor technical intervention. The useful in addition to obstructive parts also appear in the light of this. A universal phenomenon is a cybercrime. The growth of technology, cybercrime and female victimisation is on the rise and it poses a significant threat to the protection of an individual as a whole. With this rising cybercrime problem in cyberspace, the solitude and individual security of the user are in danger.[iv] Cyberspace was a gift to human civilization. The Internet has linked individuals around the world.

· A new arena for interacting has been formed by social networking websites.
· Regardless of every distinction, women in society are rejoicing to the fullest with this emancipation.
· It has made the life of Indian women simple, from online shopping to net banking, from e-ticketing to e-tax filling.[v]
· The Internet serves as a boon, but on the other hand, due to increasing cybercrime in the virtual world, it has made women’s lives vulnerable.
· India is mainly an ancestral & conventional country, plus women who are victimised are held responsible and there is no exemption for online victims.


In general, a virus hoax occurs as an e-mail message that identifies a specific virus that does not actually exist. These words of warning are meant to build fright to computer users. The warning is e-mailed by the writer or writers and holds an appeal for the person who reads to forward it to others. The message then spreads like a chain letter, circulating across the Internet as it is received by individuals and then forwarded unknowingly. The “Good Times” virus hoax, for instance, was published in 1994 and since then has circled the world several times. Instead of performing it, it is often advisable to ignore or delete such hoax viruses.


The punishments for these offences include fines, incarceration up to two years or both. In India, cybercrime against women is at a shocking phase, and it may cause a key risk to the safety of an entity as an intact. The phrase “cybercrime against women” in India involves sexual offences and online sexual harassment. India is known as one of the few countries that have implemented the Information Technology Act, 2000 to fight cybercrime. The industrial and monetary offences that are apparent from the preface of the IT Act are broadly described by this Act.

· Section 67 “deals with publishing or transmitting obscene materials in electronic form. This section in It Act, 2000 was later widened as per the Information Technology Amendment Act, 2008 in which child pornography and retention of records by intermediaries were all included. This section is of historical importance since the landmark judgment [vi]in what is considered to be the first-ever conviction under IT Act, 2000 in India. The strength of this section and the reliability of electronic evidence were proved by the prosecution and conviction was brought about in this case, involving sending an obscene message in the name of married women amounting to cyber stalking, email spoofing and the criminal activity stated in this section.

· Section 67A & Section 67B insert penal provisions in respect of offences of publishing or transmitting material containing sexually explicit act and child pornography in electronic form.
· Section 67C deals with obligations of an intermediary to preserve and retain such information as may be specified for such duration and in such manner and format as the central government may prescribe.[vii]


· Owing to the allied dishonour and predisposition of parents/guardians not to involve the police in such matters, cyber abuse of women and children and related cyber crimes remain tremendously under-reported.

· Perpetrators know their sufferers well or they are associated with them. Women are typically unacquainted regarding privacy guidelines and security instructions for using social media sites. Women are less skillful in using technology.[viii]

· It is important to simplify the process of documenting such “cyber crimes against women and” protect the privacy of the women and children involved in order to ensure that such crimes do not go unreported. Cybercrime investigations aiming at women and children need to be streamlined and improved.


· The escalating figure of crimes touching women is major distress for every state, but cybercrimes makes it much more difficult as criminals have the capability to build false identities and then play a part in illegal works. To respond to this administration “should make stricter laws to apply on the Internet Service Providers (ISP), as they alone have the” whole documentation “of all the data being accessed by” anybody surfing on the net.

· For cyber cafes, legislation need to make stricter regulation which should keep a database of their customers who used their internet services, because many individuals go to cyber cafes to engage in unlawful action so that in any possible enquiry their own IP addresses are not exposed. This is another way in which individuality is concealed.

· “People need to be cautious over which parts of their daily lives are being recorded by cameras & should act modestly in such times. Awareness over a cyber background and its drawbacks also need to be improved amongst people.”


“The core cybercrime issue lies in the modus operandi and the cyber criminal’s diligence. The police, judiciary and the investigating agencies need to keep abreast of the latest advances in web-based applications so that they can simply trace the actual doer. In India, cyber crimes against women are still taken lightly, mainly because the respect for women in our modern culture, in general, is declining, and a lot of people are also not able to come to grasp the fact that even sharing someone’s picture online is a crime. In our general traditions, cybercrimes such as morphing and e-mail spoofing do not have moral support and are therefore taken lightly.

They must learn not to intervene with the personal lives of others, and it is also essential to enhance respect for women in the general public. Therefore, in order to tackle cybercrime against women in India, there is a need not only for stricter penal developments but also for a shift in the education system. Such reform does not come from within a single block of society, but individuals, administrations and various other bodies need to work together to bring such changes.”

[i] Eliixr International Journal, Shobhna Jeet, “Cyber Crime against Women in India: Information Technology Act, 2000” 47 (2012).
[ii] Halder D. & Jai K, “Cyber Crime and Victimization of Women: Laws, Rights &Regulations” 120 (June, 2011).
[iii] http://www.naavi.org/ suhaskatticase.html.
[iv] http://www.legalserviceindia.com.
[v] Fobio M., S Tacconi, Giuseppe (2013) “Cybercrime and Cloud Forensics: Applications for Investigation Processes,” pg. 313–330.
[vi] State of Tamil Nadu v. Suhas Katti, CC No. 4680 of 2004
[vii] IT Act (Amendment) 2008 Section 67(A) (B) (C).
[viii] anaya Saha, Akanksha Srivastava (2014), “Indian Women at Risk in the Cyber Space: A Conceptual Model of Reasons for Victimization”, International Journal of Cyber Criminology, p. 57.
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Author: Riya

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