"With great power comes great responsibilities". Yes, that's the most famous dialogue from the spiderman trilogy. Besides being famous, it also makes a lot of sense.
When it comes to the internet, this dialogue is on point. The internet has empowered us greatly. However, there are downsides to this. Most notable is trolling.
Trolling is a part and parcel of our lives. From memes on Instagram to Twitter threads, no place is spared by social media trolls. Above all, are there laws against trolling in India?
Troll meaning could differ from situation to situation. But mostly, a troll is someone who creates discord on the internet. Generally, by starting fights or harassing people.
Social media trolls often give controversial statements to get famous.
Laws Against Trolling In India
Online bullying is very common in India. It can happen with a celebrity or even you. There are no specific laws against trolling in India.
As a matter of fact, there can't be as it will prohibit the right to freedom of speech. But, here are some laws that will help you tackle these online goons.
They are categorized according to the type of activities, such as:
Online Stalking: Under section 354D IPC,
monitoring a woman through the internet or any electronic communication platform and an attempt to start an interaction in case of her clear disinterest is punishable.
Such an offence can land you in jail for 3-5 years with a compulsory fine.
Defamation: Under section 499 IPC, posting obscene images/videos or remarks on social media can land you in trouble. Defaming a woman online can land you in jail for 2 years.
Sexually Explicit Content: The IT Act holds a person liable for publishing or transmitting sexually explicit content in electronic form.
You can end up in jail for 5-7 years coupled with a Rs10 Lakh fine.
Criminal Intimidation: Under section 503 IPC a person can be convicted if he/she intents or threatens to harm a woman's reputation.
Similarly, section 507 IPC convicts a person for threatening a woman by anonymous communication.
Lack Of Gender Neutral Laws Against Trolling In India
Most of the laws against trolling in India are for women. Thus, the laws can be biased at times.
While the safety of women should remain the prime concern, a lack of gender-neutral laws might turn out to be a loophole for social media goons.
The lack of proper laws against trolling in India might cost us in the future. However, you can feel safe enough with the above-listed laws.
Moreover, there have been healthy discussions about social media trolling in the Parliament and a proper law might just be around the corner.