Communication is a skill that has developed immensely over the years yet continues to refresh itself to an unimaginable pace. With the advent of the printing press in the nineteenth century, to the Information era that we are living in today, communication either in verbal or non-verbal, has become force and power. The Internet was commercially made available to the Indian public in the 1995. Though the initial response was slow but rapidly grew from few hundreds to thousands. The days are gone when people wrote letters or postcards or telegram to spread the message, while E-mail, blogging, posting etc… emerged as the fastest means of communication. Newer technological achievements are replacing the traditional methods. Social networking sites have attracted the young and the old to post and share, news and views in accordance to their right of free speech creating positive and negative sides. Recently, Mr. Digvijay Singh lodged a criminal case against twenty two people for allegedly posting ''highly offensive'' content against him on various places on the internet . This is not the first time a person has found himself to be a target of mischief mongers over the internet. From social figures to common man, most of us have one or the other time found ourselves to be a victim of such acts. According to facts, cyber crimes (IT Act + IPC Sections) increased by 22.7% in 2007 as compared to 2006. The abuse and misuse of the right to free speech and the impact on cyber space are studies which our paper presents to the panel committee.
1. http://www.bnetindia.com/html/internet_in_india.htm . Viewed on 10-11-2011 2. http://www.haindavakeralam.com/HKPage.aspx?PageID=14791 as viewed on 16-11-2011. 3. http://indiafacts.in/statistics/cyber-crimes-statistics-in-india/ as viewed on 16-11-2011.
The term “cyber” is infact a word with no specific meaning, dervied from the word “cybernetic” which defines the interdisciplinary study of structure of the regulatory systems. Cyber is broadly used as a prefix with other physical entity like cyber-space, cyber forensics, cyber world etc... The definition of cyber provided by Merriam-Webster defines as, “of, relating to, or involving computers or computer networks (as the Internet)”.
Defamation is civil wrong. It is a publication of a false statement without any lawful excuse. It is publication of such statement which tends to injure another person. If a statement tends to expose another person for ridicule or contempt, such statement shall also be defamatory in nature. Defamation has been defined exhaustively in the Indian laws. The term “defamation” finds its meaning in the Indian Penal Code as well as Law of Torts.
According to Winfield –
“Defamation is the publication of a statement which tends to lower a person in the estimation of right thinking members of the society generally, or which tends to make them hate or avoid that person.”
According to Salmond –
“The wrong of defamation consists in the publication of a false and defamatory statement concerning another person without lawful justification.”
According to the Law of Torts –
“A man’s reputation is the estimate in which others hold him, not the opinion which he has of himself”.
1. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/cyber as viewed on 15-11-2011 According to The Indian Penal Code 1860, chapter 21, section 499 as follows –
Whoever by words either spoken or intended to be read, or by signs or by visible representations, makes or publishes any imputation concerning any person intending to harm, or knowing or having reason to believe that such imputation will harm, the reputation of such person, is said, except in the cases hereinafter excepted, to defame that person.
Explanation 1.-It may amount to defamation to impute anything to a deceased person, if the imputation would harm the reputation of...