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Think Before You Post

“A disturbing trend has been observed on Social Media platforms by Maharashtra Cyber that pictures of deceased actor Shri. Sushant Singh Rajput is being circulated, which are disturbing and in bad taste.”

— Maharashtra Cyber (@MahaCyber1) June 14, 2020

This was the tweet by the Maharashtra Cybercrime Department after which they gave a clear warning to delete the posts and pics of the dead body of deceased actor Shri. Sushant Singh Rajput which was circulated on social media. Cybercrime department advised netizens to refrain from doing so and also delete it as it may lead to legal action against them. Now the question stands “why”? As people might think what is the nature of the crime they have committed that has attracted a legal action against them?

The warning given by the cybercrime department was under Sec 149 of CrPC (Police to prevent cognizable offences) under which a police officer may interpose for the purpose of preventing, and shall, to the best of his ability prevent the commission of any cognizable offence. So before the commencement of the cognizable offence the cybercrime department restrained it. They also added that it is an offence under the I.T. Act, I.P.C. and other laws of the land. But the question is still unanswered as on what grounds of I.T. Act posting of such pics were deemed as an offence?

As after Section 66 A of the IT Act got repealed in the year 2015, one can post or share what he or she feels like but according to Section 149 of CrPC which mentions that “users on social media platforms are not allowed to share offensive, abusive, defamatory, and malicious posts”. This has been considered an offence under the Information Technology Act and IPC. So the statements made above are conflicting or contradictory in nature. Now the real part comes into play, Maharashtra Cyber Crime Department used the words “disturbing and in bad taste”. So posting pics of the deceased body of Shri. Sushant Singh Rajput that was not only creating a disturbing trauma in the minds of people but was also hurting the sentiments of his family members was considered bad in taste and attracts both the Information technology act (IT Act) and also Indian penal code (IPC) as well as others laws of the land.

Sec-67,69 A,79 of IT Act and Sec 292 of the IPC - As Sec 67 penalises a person on the first conviction, imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to 3 years, to be accompanied by a fine which may extend to rupees 5,00,000(Rupees five lakh) for publishing information which is obscene in electronic form. Obscenity merely doesn't relate to sexual content but also to things which are disturbing in nature and can affect the minds of people and hurt their sentiments or feelings.

Sec 69 A -allows the government to block any content for the public on various grounds. One of its grounds says it is for public order or for preventing incitement for the commission of any cognizable offence. Sec 79 also gives power to the intermediary (like Facebook, Twitter) to notice and takedown content when they have actual knowledge of it within 36 hours else they will lose the immunity for being sued. Sec 292 of IPC provides any person who inter alia, sells, distributes, publicly exhibits or in any manner puts into circulation or has in possession any obscene object whatsoever, shall be punishable on a first conviction with either description for a term which may extend to 5 years, accompanied with a fine of Rs 5000(five thousand).

The main object of this article was not to emphasize on a celebrity demise but to put light on what should be kept in mind and checked before something being posted online or on social media. It is known to all that after the repealing of Sec 66A we can post a number of things but should also keep in mind that it shouldn’t be offensive in any nature as it is said: “with great power comes great responsibility”. So the internet is that power with us and it is we who needs to be careful before we post something or do any activity online.


Ritik tiwari is currently studying in Bharti Vidyapeeth New Law College, Pune. You can contact the author at https://www.linkedin.com/in/ritik-tiwari-06118819a

Editor: Jayant Upadhyay

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