Words Can Hurt as Much as Sticks and Stones: Everything You Need to Know About Online Harassment Laws in India

In today’s world, we all live on the computer. We work on the computer. We buy things on the computer. And we make friends on the computer. Therefore, it becomes seemingly important to know the correct Net Etiquette.

For instance, if you are on your computer in a conference with others in a professional setting or even on social sites for personal purposes, it will be important to take caution when interacting with other people. After all, it is easy to misinterpret a person’s words when having a conversation through an LCD Screen.

The Common Terms Used to Describe Online Harassment

For the purpose of this discussion, let us start by explaining the common names that you may have heard when it comes to online harassment. Those two distinctive words used to term this type of harassment are referenced as “Cyberbullying” or “Cyberstalking.”


  • Cyberbullying – is a type of online interaction in which a person or persons taunt and threaten an individual with intimidating words. This word is used in referencing mostly what children or young adults go through online.


  • Cyberstalking – is basically the same concept of cyberbullying, but this term is used a lot when a sexual harassment interaction has taken place and in situations between adult online conversations.

India’s Harassment Guidelines and When They First Took Effect

The truth is harassment laws can be quite different depending on the country you reside in. India, for instance, has been documented as having the highest harassment rates of most countries – verbal and sexual. It could be because of the country’s overpopulated cities. It has now also been determined that India has the highest rank of internet users as well, which has driven up the harassment numbers to astounding levels.

So, that begs the question of what exactly are the laws of this type of harassment in the country of India? Well, it seems that before 2013 there were no valid laws in place to punish a person for the crime of cyberstalking. However, since 2013 there have been amendments put in place by the Indian Parliament, which states cyber intimidation as a criminal offence.

A Compoundable Offense Versus A Non-Compoundable Offense

Although the amendments were a positive position for India to take – especially for Indian women, there are set rules that determine the consequences of a harassment suit. These two types of rules are under the terms “Compoundable” and Non-Compoundable” instances.

Therefore, for someone to seek punishment for a harassment crime in India, the incident will have to be determined in section 320 of the CrPC which states the rules of compoundable interactions. If they do not fall under these certain guidelines, then they become Non-compoundable interactions. Let us compare the two.

Compoundable Offenses

  • Compoundable Offenses – are types of charges that are less critical to punishment. The charges would probably be brought up by a single person accusing another person. There are two ways to view a compoundable offence – One is with permission of the court and the other way is without consent from the court. Which means, if a compromise between parties involved is reached a trial does not have to take place.

Non-Compoundable Offenses

  • Non-Compoundable Offenses – Would be the opposite of compoundable. They would be very serious in stature, and both private and surrounding society could be affected by the charges. And under no circumstances can a compromise be made. A full trial will be held to determine conviction or acquittal of charges brought.

What the Women of India Should Know to Protect Themselves Against Cyberstalkers

As mentioned earlier, Indian women are the ones who must fight off internet trolls the most. Men who will try to stalk them for sexual pleasures are a serious problem in most regions of India today. It is a crucial concept to put forth to the women of this country so that they can research and become familiar with all rules and regulations that the Indian Parliament put in place to protect them. A list of 9 laws that would benefit the female population is as follows.

Section 354A of the IPC

  • Section 354A of the IPC

Section 354C of the IPC

  • Section 354C of the IPC

Section 354D of the IPC

  • Section 354D of the IPC

Section 499 of the IPC

  • Section 499 of the IPC

Section 503 of the IPC

  • Section 503 of the IPC

Section 507 of the IPC

  • Section 507 of the IPC

Section 509 of the IPC

  • Section 509 of the IPC

Section 66E of the IT Act

  • Section 66E of the IT Act

Section 292 of the IT Act

  • Section 292 of the IT Act

Hence, if Indian women would look these rules up and familiarize themselves with the basis of each one, it would be easier for them to fight when an interaction online has put them into a scary conflict. This way, they would already be prepared with the knowledge of their rights.

A Universal Problem We All Need to Educate Ourselves About

In addition to becoming more knowledgeable about what online harassment is and what legal rights a person from India has when confronted with the problem, it would also be important to point out that this is a universal issue and is not limited to one country. Although India has been determined to be the most at risk to date, the truth is the problem of cyber-attacks are rampant in every part of the world and getting worse.

Therefore, I would like to take the time to mention some ways in which all of us that communicate with others online could further protect ourselves. Indeed, there are ways without the law to safeguard ourselves from the cyber bandits of the world. Here are five very important ways we can take action:

  • Make sure you purchase an antivirus and security program that monitors all things that can affect your privacy.
  • Always password protect the sites you visit the most.
  • Use the block button on social media sites when you feel you are being stalked.
  • Make sure you use privacy settings correctly so that no one can obtain your personal information
  • Only allow people you know and trust to become friends with you on social sites.

Even though the above steps seem like very basic steps to follow, they can still be extremely helpful in our pursuit of privacy and safety while online. I hope this article has given, you, the reader, some very informative information on the laws taken against cyberstalkers, and how to protect yourself before someone can target you for unlawful purposes.

After all, educating ourselves with the correct information will give us all the power of protection.

Leave a Reply