NEW DELHI: In a bid to strengthen the capability of judges when it comes to handling cybercrimes, the Ministry of Law and Justice has initiated a drive to educate the higher and lower judiciary on the intricacies of cyber laws.
The ministry has mooted conferences and orientation programmes for judges to familiarise them with cyber and Information Technology-related cases and the laws needed to tackle them.
The conferences were proposed after cases relating to objectionable content on Google and Facebook were filed in the courts. In most of the cases, the judicial officers had little or no experience in dealing with them.
A Law Ministry official cited the instance of a Delhi court where the judge passed summons against 21 websites for objectionable online content, including those that were not social networks like Microsoft and Yahoo, and the summons were quashed later.
The Law Ministry is working with the National Judicial Academy to conduct these workshops in order to make the judicial officers aware about the changing Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) and cyber laws.
The Academy will hold the conferences early next year for four days for the higher judiciary and four orientation programmes for members of the lower judiciary in a year’s time.
An official associated with the programme said, “The programme aims to keep judges updated with new developments in this field, and it is designed in such a way that it strikes a balance between two different disciplines to achieve the objective of preparing judges to tackle the matters relating to Intellectual Property Rights and cyber forensics.”
“Emergence of ICT technologies have also opened up new areas of litigation. The use of cyber technology for committing and detecting crime has also increased. The legal system of our country, including our procedural laws, have undergone significant changes to keep pace with technological developments. However, implementation of these laws poses serious challenges for the judiciary,” the official added.
As a rule, all cyber- related cases will first have to go to the country’s lone Cyber Appellate Tribunal (CAT) set up in 2009. However, since it is operating without a head for the past three years, there is an increasing pendency of cyber cases which has forced the ministry to train the present judicial staff in order to dispose of such cases on priority.
According to the National Crime Records Bureau, 2,876 cyber cases were registered under the IT Act in 2012, as against 1,791 cases in 2011, registering a 60.6 per cent increase.
Under the Information Technology Act, the tribunal is meant to hear appeals against the adjudicating officers’ order on compensation claims and other disputes.
Apart from the criminal cases to be filed before a police cyber cell, an e-fraud victim can also approach an officer, appointed by the state as an adjudicating officer, with claims for compensation.
The officer, usually a public servant with a fair knowledge of cyber law such as the state IT secretary, has powers to impose a penalty on those who have contravened the Act.