The country has witnessed a spurt of about 75 per cent in the number of cases registered under the IT Act in 2012. However, in Tamil Nadu, the rise has been only marginal, with a few cities recording a decline in the number of such cases.
According to the recently released ‘Crime in India - 2012’ report of the National Crime Records Bureau, in Coimbatore city, 15 cases under the IT Act were registered in 2011 and only 3 cases were registered in 2012. Chennai too witnessed only a marginal increase - 13 cases in 2011 and 15 cases in 2012. This is contrary to other cities like Bangalore, where a total of 342 cases were registered in 2012, 193 per cent rise compared to the 2011 figure of 117.
Attributing a reason for the trend, S N Ravichandran, a member of Cyber Society of India, said, “In 2012 and 2013 there was a decline in the number of cases registered under the IT Act, as many police officers lack clarity on how to handle the cases under the Act during the prosecution stage. As a result, they prefer to book cases under IPC sections.”
However, it is noteworthy that the State also witnessed a decline in the number of cyber crime cases booked under IPC sections. From eight cyber crime cases under IPC in 2011, only two were filed in 2012. In Coimbatore, only one cyber crime case under IPC sections was registered in 2012 and there was no case in Chennai.
Provisions of the IT Act were in the eye of controversy last year, when two girls were arrested under stringent provisions of theAct for a Facebook post after Bal Thackeray’s death. However, police say the Act is mainly used to deal with cases of harassment calls/SMS to women. “In most of the cases, the women complainants are satisfied if the offender stops the actions after the initial police action. Hence, most of the cases are disposed as CSR entries which reflects in the data sent to the NCRB,” says an inspector, who had served in the cyberwing.