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ONLINE OBSCENITY AND ONLINE DEFAMATION UNDER THE INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY ACT, 2000 IN INDIA

 
COMPETITION LAW
LAW RELATING TO START UPS
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Information Technology Act, 2000
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Online Obscenity and Online Defamation under the IT Act, 2000
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  According to Section 67 of the IT Act any person who publishes or transmits or causes to be published or transmitted in the electronic form, any material which is lascivious or appeal 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 are punishable with first conviction with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three years and with a 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.

Landmark Judgement - The Baazee Case1

A student from a college registered as a seller with baazee.com and listed for sale an obscene MMS clip for INR 125 per piece. The trade of such item was against the user agreement and therefore an F.I.R was filed. He was arrested by the crime branch of Delhi and CPU and hardware containing the MMS was retrieved.

His case is about posting obscene, defamatory and annoying message about a divorcee woman in the Yahoo message group. E-mails were forwarded to the victim for information by the accused through a false e- mail account opened by him in the name of the victim. These postings resulted in annoying phone calls to the lady. Based on the lady’s complaint, the police nabbed the accused. Investigation revealed that he was a known family friend of the victim and was interested in marrying her. She was married to another person, but that marriage ended in divorce and the accused started contacting her once again. On her reluctance to marry him he started harassing her through internet.

The accused was found guilty of offences under section 469, 509 IPC and 67 of IT Act. He was convicted and sentenced for the offence as follows:
  • As per 469 of IPC he had to undergo rigorous imprisonment for 2 years and to pay fine of Rs.500/-
  • As per 509 of IPC he was to undergo to undergo 1 year Simple imprisonment and to pay Rs 500/-
  • As per Section 67 of IT Act 2000, he had to undergo for 2 years and to pay fine of Rs.4000/-
All sentences were to run concurrently. The accused paid fine amount and he was lodged at Central Prison, Chennai. This is considered the first case convicted under section 67 of Information Technology Act 2000 in India.

1Avnish Bajaj vs State (N.C.T.) Of Delhi (2005) 3 Comp LJ 364 Del, 116 (2005) DLT 427, 2005 (79) DRJ 576

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