First Information Report in Online Abuse

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As is common knowledge, First Information Report (FIR) is the primary crime evidence with the police. On a blank A4 sheet of paper, the victim writes his or her name, postal address, date and time of the crime and the location where it happened. In the crime details, the victim is encouraged to write the details that include the description of the culprits.

With the advent of online crime, the nature of FIR has changed and the details therein. Barring it, other procedures remain the same. The FIR for online crimes is registered at Cyber Crime Cells in the city. Although there should be multiple Cyber Crime Cells, there are instances when a state has only one Cyber Crime Cell, like the state of Karnataka. We have made a note of all the Cyber Crime Cells in India. Kindly go through the same as they are prepared for the reader’s ready reference.

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In an instance of abuse, it is perfectly understandable if the woman feels the need for a support system. Usually the kith and kin are as much under the impact of the violation as the victim. In a situation such as this, there are civil society organizations in India who can be reached out for psychological respite and technical guidance on resolving the problem at hand. Centre for Social Research, Breakthrough, Jagori, Software Freedom Law Centre, She Says and Cyber Victim Counselling are the few Civil Society Organizations who can be of assistance to the victim.

The reader can find below a draft of the FIR that can be registered in the case of online abuse.

Scenario

My name is ‘ABC’ and I have been a user of Facebook since the year 2006. I never faced any problem with the aforementioned social media platform until recently when I was subjected to something that has disturbed me tremendously. I have been receiving morphed nude pictures of me / lewd messages / scary messages by a stalker / content that imply threat to life and dignity / creating fake accounts and using it to cause libel and serious damage to my life by unknown users / someone I know. I have no idea how to go about making a complaint. Could you please help?

Given below is the draft FIR format that one needs to adhere while filing an FIR for online abuse.

To, (Date in DD.MM.YY)
The Commissioner of Police,
(Address)

Subject: Complaint under Section 66(e), 67 and 67(a) of the Information Technology Act, 2000 along with Section 509 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 for Punishment for Violation of Privacy, Punishment for publishing or transmitting obscene material in electronic form, Punishment for publishing or transmitting of material containing sexually act, etc. in electronic form and words, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman.

Sir/Madam,

I, introduce myself as ______________ daughter of/ wife of __________. I am ___ years old. I am currently employed as/studying at_______________. I am a regular user of Internet and social networking sites like ‘Facebook’. I had not faced any problems in using the social media platform until recently when I have started receiving morphed nude pictures of me / lewd messages / scary messages by a stalker / content that imply threat to life and dignity / creating fake accounts and using it to cause libel and serious damage to my life from ‘unknown users’ / someone I know. There is a possibility that the culprit who is engaging in such an anti-social activity may also have obtained unauthorized access to my images, by planting a spy camera in a public place, such as a changing room in a Shopping Mall, etc. I also fear that he may have also sent it to others especially to people in my friend list and to my colleagues.

(Copy of Facebook messenger/inbox with messages received from these unknown users has been enclosed)

The victim should explain in graphic detail, the instance of violation. It would not only lend credibility to the case but also would facilitate the process of tracking the culprit; if the victim can cite time, the explanation of the incident and how the victim felt.

The detailed sequence of the events is as under:

_____________________________________________________________________________

In the light of the above factual information, I make an appeal to invoke the following protective laws:

• Punishment for Violation of Privacy under section 66 (e) of the Information Technology Act, 2000
• Punishment for publishing or transmitting obscene material in electronic form under section 67 of the Information Technology Act, 2000
• Punishment for publishing or transmitting of material containing sexually act, etc.in electronic form under section 67 (a) of the Information Technology Act, 2000 and
• Words, gesture or Act intended to insult the modesty of a woman under section 509 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860

I would request you to promptly investigate into the aforesaid offences, against the unknowns users and take strict action against them in law.

I thank you in advance for your efforts.
Regards,

(Signature)
(Name of the victim)
(Contact details)

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