This article has been written by Vibha Swami Certificate Course in Introduction to Legal Drafting: Contracts, Petitions, Opinions & Articles from LawSikho.

This article has been edited and published by Shashwat Kaushik.


In today’s world, as information technology continues to play an increasing role in our daily lives, we are often placing our trust in strangers who may pose a threat to us. The impact of this level of trust is that it makes our lives very exposed, which leads the anonymous person to commit crimes on online platforms. We’re here to learn about cyberbullying specifically.

Let’s define what cybercrime is and what its components and types are. Information technology has become an essential part of our daily lives today. Many of our daily tasks depend on technology. While information technology has positive aspects, there are also negative aspects. Some people use technology to make profits, while others misuse it. Cybercrime has become a significant issue in many countries as a result of the misuse of information technology. Cybercrime is a crime committed using digital means. Cybercrime can take many forms, including through mobile devices, computers, or other digital means. Cybercrime not only causes financial harm but also mental harm to the victim. Cyberbullying, fraud, child pornography, and digital piracy are examples of cybercrime. We’re here to learn about cyberbullying specifically.

Download Now

What is cyberbullying

The term cyberbullying was coined for the first time by Bill Belsey, who was a Canadian educator. Cyberbullying, or online bullying, is the use of technology to harass or bully someone. Cyberbullying is a serious form of online harassment that can cause long-lasting emotional as well as psychological damage. According to the Information and Technology Act 2000, cyberbullying is one of the cybercrimes, which means using both information and communication technology beyond the limit to harm a person’s reputation, state of mind, or humiliate a person. It is an act in which the person being bullied suffers an adverse effect. The National Crime Prevention Council’s definition is “the process of using the Internet, cell phones, or other devices to send or post text or images intended to hurt or embarrass another person.” Cyberbullying has become common among teens because of its hideous nature. In traditional bullying, a person can escape from it for some time. For example, if a student is bullied at school, they can talk to a teacher or a trusted adult at home for help and support. But in the case of cyberbullying, it will haunt the victim everywhere. Sometimes, due to a lack of knowledge or information, teens get cyberbullied easily. There are many cyberbullying cases reported across the country. A medical student in Kerala committed suicide because of a conversation on WhatsApp twisted by her friends.

The causes of cyberbullying are unknown, but it is widely accepted that the anonymity of social media gives individuals the courage to commit this type of crime. Let us now learn more about the types of cyberbullying.

Types of cyberbullying 

There are mainly 10 kinds of cyberbullying


In cases of exclusion, individuals may be removed from social media groups and subjected to trolling. The bullies try to spread fake things about the individual.


In this kind of cyberbullying, cyberbullies use indecent behaviour or messages on technical grounds that can make the individual feel uneasy, afraid, or depressed.

  • spreading rumours, ridiculing, and/or demeaning others
  • harassing others because of their race, religion, sexual orientation, disability, or transgender identity
  • seeking revenge or deliberately embarrassing a person online;
  • engaging in unwanted behaviour of a sexual nature via text, email, or other electronic and/or social media, including using intimate images or recordings of another person.


In cybercrime, outing is also a kind of cyberbullying, which is also known as doxing. Doxing includes a crime in which the identity or any private information or personal messages of any individual are spread without his or her consent.


This type of bullying is similar to the outing, but the bully first gains the victim’s trust before revealing their secret with malicious intent.


In cyberbullying, the bully first stalks his or her target by checking his or her online activities for a long period; later on, the bully tries to harass the individual.


In this, the bullies use the individual’s account, and the bullies defame the individual by posting ill content against him or her.


In this case, the cyberbullies don’t access the target’s account; rather, they make an account in the individual’s name and perform malicious things using the individual’s name.


The bully posts rumors or false information to defame the individual. The bully can directly message the individual’s friends or post anything on social media that defames the person


In trolling, many people comment on a post, which can make the person feel insulted and mentally depressed. People may judge or make fun of the person’s actions, which can be terrifying.


Flaming, also known as roasting, is a form of cyberbullying in which an individual gets bullied on social media or in groups with inappropriate language.

Indian law remedies against cyberbullying

According to the Information And Technology Act of 2000, and the Indian Penal Code of 1860, some sections provide punishment for Cyber Crime. In actuality, there are no particular laws that deal with cyberbullying but provide punishment for cyberbullying on different provisions.

Under the Information and Technology Act of 2000, the following sections provide legal remedies against cyberbullying.

Section 66A 

This section of the act provides the punishment for the harassment and dissing. The punishment for causing harassment and dissing the bully shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term that may extend to three years and with a fine.

Section 66E

This section pertains to the punishment for trickery and doxing. Offenders may face imprisonment for up to three years, a fine not exceeding two lakh rupees or both.

Section 67

This section under the Information and Technology Act of 2000 provides that if anyone publishes or transmits any inappropriate material through electronic means, they shall be punished on first conviction with imprisonment of either description for a term that may extend to three years and with a fine that may extend to five lakh rupees, and in the event of a second or subsequent conviction with imprisonment of either description for a term that may extend to five years and also with a fine that may extend to ten lakh rupees.

The Indian Penal Code, of 1860 also provides some remedies in cases of cyberbullying.

Section 500

The act provides punishment for defamation, which can also be done on social media platforms. The act gives punishment, which shall be simple imprisonment for a term that may extend to two years, or a fine, or both. 

Section 507

Intermediation through any electronic means with anonymous communication shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term that may extend to two years.

Case laws of cyberbullying

In India, there have been numerous landmark cases that have highlighted the severity and impact of cyberbullying. These cases have brought attention to the issue and have contributed to shaping laws and policies aimed at combating cyberbullying. Some of the most notable landmark cases include:

Ritu Kohli’s case

It was the first cyberstalking case filed in India. Ritu Kohli was cyberstalked by Manish Khaturia. He used her name and personal information on a site, from which she got obnoxious messages and calls. People were talking dirty with her. From all this, she reported an FIR under Section 509 of the IPC, 1860. However, this section was not applied in Ritu’s situation, which caused alarm to the Indian government, and they amended the laws.

State of Bangladesh vs. Animesh Boxi

In this case, the software engineer Animesh had a relationship of 3 years with the victim. He demanded intimate photos from her. After some time, he hacked her phone and stalked her. He blackmailed her with the help of the photos. After a few days, the victim’s brother found the pictures and videos of the victim on the porn site. Animesh was charged with many acts under the Indian Penal Code of 1860. He was also punished under Sections 63, 66, and 67A of the Information Technology Act of 2000, with an imprisonment of 5 years and a fine of Rs. 9000.

Ritika Sharma’s case

Ritika Sharma (name changed) was cyberstalked by someone who used her name and telephone number on Facebook. She shared her number with that person. Later on, the Delhi Police started campaigns and awareness programs in schools regarding cyberbullying.

Shreya Singhal vs. Union of India

In the landmark case of Shreya Singhal vs. Union of India, the Supreme Court of India delivered a groundbreaking judgement in 2015 challenging the constitutionality of Section 66A of the Information Technology Act, 2000. This provision criminalised the sending of offensive messages through electronic means, raising concerns about its potential to stifle freedom of speech and expression online.

The Court’s verdict marked a significant milestone in protecting online speech and expression in India. By declaring Section 66A unconstitutional, the Court recognised that the provision violated the fundamental right to freedom of speech and expression guaranteed under Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution. This decision set a precedent for safeguarding online speech from arbitrary restrictions and affirmed the importance of open and democratic discourse in the digital age.

The case was brought before the Court by Shreya Singhal, a law student, and other petitioners following several arrests and prosecutions under Section 66A. The petitioners argued that the provision was vague and overly broad, allowing for arbitrary interpretations and misuse by authorities. They contended that it had a chilling effect on online speech, discouraging individuals from expressing their views freely for fear of legal consequences.

The Court agreed with the petitioners’ arguments, finding that Section 66A did not meet the constitutional standards of reasonableness and proportionality. It held that the provision was too wide in its scope and could be used to target legitimate criticism or dissent, thereby undermining the essence of free speech in a democratic society. The Court also held  that the mere potential to cause offence or annoyance does not justify restricting speech, as it is an inherent part of a robust public discourse.

The verdict in Shreya Singhal vs. Union of India resonated beyond India’s borders, setting an example for other countries grappling with the challenges of regulating online speech. It underlined the importance of striking a delicate balance between protecting individual rights and maintaining public order in the digital realm.

The decision also prompted the Indian government to revise Section 66A, introducing more specific and narrowly defined provisions to address offensive online content. This revised framework aimed to ensure that restrictions on online speech were proportionate and necessary, safeguarding both freedom of expression and the rights of others.

Prajwala vs. Facebook and Ors.

In the landmark case of Prajwala vs. Facebook and Ors., decided by the Delhi High Court in 2016, Prajwala, a leading non-governmental organisation dedicated to combating human trafficking, brought a lawsuit against Facebook and other significant social media platforms. The lawsuit centred on the failure of these platforms to take adequate measures to prevent the spread of child sexual abuse material (CSAM) on their platforms.

The case highlighted the urgent need for social media companies to address the proliferation of CSAM online, which can have devastating consequences for victims and their families. Prajwala argued that the social media platforms were not doing enough to remove CSAM from their platforms and were failing to report it to the appropriate authorities.

The Delhi High Court ruled in favour of Prajwala, recognising the gravity of the issue and the need for social media platforms to take proactive steps to prevent the spread of CSAM. The Court directed these platforms to implement stricter measures to remove and report CSAM content, including using advanced technology and artificial intelligence to identify and flag such content.

The Court’s decision set a significant precedent in addressing the issue of CSAM online and held social media platforms accountable for the content shared on their platforms. It emphasised the importance of creating a safe online environment for children and ensuring that social media companies take responsibility for preventing the spread of harmful content.

The Prajwala vs. Facebook and Ors. case has had a far-reaching impact on the way social media platforms approach CSAM. Since the ruling, several platforms have implemented more robust measures to detect and remove CSAM content, including dedicated reporting mechanisms and partnerships with law enforcement agencies.

However, the fight against CSAM online is an ongoing one, and there is still much work to be done. Social media platforms must remain vigilant in their efforts to prevent the spread of CSAM and ensure the safety of their users, especially children.

Manish Kumar vs. State of Maharashtra

The case of Manish Kumar vs. State of Maharashtra was a significant case that dealt with the issue of freedom of speech and expression in the digital age. In 2018, Manish Kumar, a resident of Mumbai, was arrested for posting allegedly offensive comments on Facebook about the then Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Devendra Fadnavis. The comments, which were made in a private Facebook group, were deemed to be offensive and derogatory by the authorities. Kumar was charged under Section 66A of the Information Technology Act, 2000, which deals with the punishment for sending offensive messages through communication services.

The case garnered widespread attention and raised concerns about the potential misuse of the law to stifle dissent and criticism of public figures. Kumar’s arrest and subsequent charges were seen by many as an attempt to suppress freedom of speech and expression, particularly in the context of social media.

During the trial, Kumar’s defence argued that his comments were not intended to incite violence or hatred but were merely expressions of his political views. The defence also pointed out that the comments were made in a private Facebook group, which limited their reach and impact.

The Bombay High Court, in its judgement, quashed the charges against Kumar, ruling that the comments did not amount to hate speech or incitement to violence. The Court held that while the comments may have been offensive to some people, they were not sufficient to warrant criminal charges. The Court further observed that the right to freedom of speech and expression is a fundamental right guaranteed under the Constitution of India and cannot be curtailed lightly.

The Manish Kumar case set an important precedent in terms of protecting freedom of speech and expression in the digital realm. It emphasised the need for a balanced approach to dealing with offensive content online, ensuring that legitimate criticism and political dissent are not stifled under the guise of hate speech or incitement to violence. The case also highlighted the importance of considering the context and intent behind online comments, rather than relying solely on their literal meaning.

These landmark cases have significantly contributed to the legal landscape surrounding cyberbullying in India. They have helped to define the scope and limits of freedom of expression online and have set important precedents for the protection of individuals against cyberbullying.

Famous cases of cyber bullying

Cyberbullying has become a serious issue in India, with many individuals falling victim to online harassment, threats, and humiliation. Several notable cases have highlighted the prevalence and impact of cyberbullying in the country:

The Bullied Schoolgirl:

  • Case: In 2016, a 15-year-old schoolgirl in Kerala faced relentless online harassment after a video of her dancing at a school function went viral.
  • Impact: The girl faced severe cyberbullying, including mean comments, body shaming, and threats of physical harm. She was forced to drop out of school and seek counselling to cope with the trauma.

The Death of Rizwan Asad:

  • Case: In 2012, a 21-year-old engineering student, Rizwan Asad, committed suicide after facing severe cyberbullying for a Facebook post he made, which was perceived as blasphemous.
  • Impact: Asad’s death sparked nationwide outrage and highlighted the deadly consequences of online harassment. It led to calls for stricter cyberbullying laws and increased awareness about the issue.

The Doxxing of Journalist Swati Chaturvedi:

  • Case: In 2018, journalist Swati Chaturvedi’s personal information, including her address and phone number, was leaked online. She became the target of a vicious online smear campaign aimed at discrediting her work and reputation.
  • Impact: The incident highlighted the harassment faced by journalists who report on sensitive issues. Chaturvedi persisted in her work, despite the online abuse, and advocated for stronger protection for journalists.

The Online Abuse of NDTV Journalist Ravish Kumar:

  • Case: Prominent journalist Ravish Kumar has faced persistent cyberbullying, including threats, personal attacks, and attempts to tarnish his reputation.
  • Impact: Kumar’s case illustrates the challenges faced by journalists in the digital age, where they often become targets of online harassment and abuse for their work.

The #MeToo Movement:

  • Case: The #MeToo movement in India brought to light numerous cases of online harassment and cyberbullying faced by women. Many shared their experiences of being subjected to inappropriate comments, threats, and sexual harassment online.
  • Impact: The movement highlighted the need for a broader conversation about online safety and consent, and led to increased awareness of the issue of cyberbullying.

These cases are just a few examples of the many instances of cyberbullying that occur in India. The prevalence of the problem demands a concerted effort from individuals, communities, and policymakers to address it effectively.

How can we stop cyberbullying

  • Protecting accounts with passwords.
  • Not sharing any kind of personal information with strangers.
  • Parental control if the kids are using mobile phones or computers.
  • Be aware of the messages, notifications, or calls.
  • Always keep the behaviour records of teens or school students. The nature of a child can be affected by cyberbullying; they can become silent or aggressive.

Initiatives taken by indian government

  • As the cases of cybercrime have been increasing, the Ministry of Women and Child Development has launched a cybercrime complaint portal [[email protected]] to report cybercrime.
  • Anti-bullying or cybercrime committees are formed in schools and colleges to control bullying cases.


Cyberbullying is evil for society. The victims of this crime should be justified, as they do need to overcome the fear and anxiety they get from it. The bullies who target innocent people should be punished. The mental as well as emotional loss of a victim should be compensated. Cyberbullying can be stopped if society or parents are aware of what their children are doing. They should be aware of their child’s activities. Both teens and adults should understand the merits and demerits of using the social platform. They should know their privacy rights, and people should be vigilant and aware of each activity they are doing on social networking platforms. School students and teens should be taught about these crimes in schools. Parents should also supervise their kids to prevent bullying.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here