Online revenge Porn and recourse to victim under Indian Cyber Law

Online Revenge Porn means that when relationship breakdowns occur, either party takes nude images of others or videos of their intimate moments on social media, blogs and other websites. Online Revenge Porn is rising worldwide with the arrival of an open Internet arena. In India, most online porn is amateur porn or vengeance porn. Every country has introduced specific legislation to deal with porn revenge throughout the world.

The UK comes out with Revenge Porn Law. Many US states already have laws on revenge porn. Virginia also has a law on revenge porn and the first person was charged and convicted under its law on 20 October 2014. We have no separate Revenge Porn Law in India, but Sections 67, 67-A and 66-A of the Information Technology Act, 2000 make online publication of Revenge Porn a punishable offence.

SECTION 67 STATES AS BELOW

“Punishment for publishing or transmitting obscene material in electronic form. -whoever publishes or transmits or causes to be published or transmitted in the electronic form, any material which is lascivious or appeals to the prurient interest or if its effect is such as to tend to deprave and corrupt persons who are likely, having regard to all relevant circumstances, to read, see or hear the matter contained or embodied in it, shall be punished on first conviction with imprisonment 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.”

This section makes a person responsible for transmitting or causing nude photographs or content of the nature to be depraved / corrupted by the viewer. When people are in relationships, they tend to share naked or nude pictures of themselves with each other, and these pictures are misused by the partner in case of a break- up. In such a case, a victim can seek recourse under section 67.

SECTION 67A OF INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY ACT STATES,

“Punishment for publishing or transmitting of material containing sexually explicit act, etc. in electronic form. – Whoever publishes or transmits or causes to be published or transmitted in the electronic form any material which contains sexually explicit act or conduct shall be punished 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.”

This section also criminalizes the act of any party who has transmitted through email, MMS or video any act or conduct of an explicit nature that the parties have carried out during the relationship.

A victim can submit a complaint to the Cyber Police Station and submit an FIR to the Police Station. In India, we definitely need separate and comprehensive laws on revenge porn together with an efficient judicial mechanism for dealing with these crimes in a short time. Many countries have a national help line and a separate cell to deal with online revenge porn, which requires immediate redress before the video becomes viral. A National Helpline for Revenge should also be set up in India, where victims can complain and the content of the Internet would be pulled down immediately. Most developed countries have already enacted specific laws because of the enormous increase in porn revenge in the virtual world.