Legal Options Available Under Indian Law For Revenge Porn

Revenge Porn Legal Options Available Under Indian Law

The crime of revenge porn is sharply rising in India.

According to National Crime Records Bureau data, there has been an 104 percent jump between 2012 and 2014  in the “transmission of obscene content in electronic form”.

Understanding revenge porn

Revenge porn involves sharing of private and intimate – most often sexually explicit pictures – of a person without their consent. Typically such images are shared by jilted lovers or former partners as a way to seek revenge.

The aim of uploading pictures is to shame, blackmail or intimidate the person in the images, often to get sexual favours in return or get back in their life.

Advocate Puneet Bhasin, a cyber-law expert has clarified that such sharing is punishable by law in India. The Information and Technology Act (IT Act) has termed the “transmission and creation” all such content as an offence.

Bhasin further clarified that since this act outrages the modesty of a woman it is also punishable under the provisions of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). She highlighted that in such cases the victim needs to file a First Information Report (FIR). A police enquiry will be carried out based on which chargesheets will be filed.

Bhasin said that in her experience most such cases get resolved even before reaching the trial stage.

Remedies Available Under Indian Law

Revenge porn is seen to be both a kind of sexual harassment as well as a violation of an individual’s right to privacy.

The Information and Technology (IT) Act, 2000 clearly bars both the “publication and distribution” of sexually explicit obscene material. According to the IT Act the punishment for capturing, publishing or transmitting images of “a private area of any person” without their consent can be punishable with up to up to three years of prison time.

The victim also has the option to file a defamation suit against the perpetuator under IPC provisions. Charges will vary as per the kind of pictures involved. If convicted the sentence can range from one to three years, with bail. It is also possible for victims to treat this as “criminal intimidation “ and file charges accordingly.

International Laws On Revenge Porn 

Israel has introduced a special Anti-Revenge Porn Law, while in the US, nearly 38 states have introduced criminal laws dealing with revenge porn.

Countries such as Canada, United Kingdom, Japan and New Zealand, have put in specific laws  to address revenge porn. These rules mostly extend the definition of revenge porn to include not just distribution of intimate images but also their creation and threats to distribute them.

Google has put in place a policy in 2016 under which they would “honour requests” made by victims of revenge porn and eliminate the offending images shared from Google Search results.

 

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