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Cyber Crimes and Adjudication

National Crimes Record Bureau (NCRB) has come out with the statistics of Cyber Crimes for the year 2009. Though the statistics may not indicate the complete picture of the Cyber Crime scenario, in the absence of better official statistics, it is to be considered as an indication of the status atleast in reflecting the relative changes from year to year.

According to the information made available, the number of Cyber Crime cases registered increased from 288 in 2008 to 420 in 2009 registering a 45.8% increase.

State 2008 2009 % change
Karnataka 57 97 70.2
Kerala 65 64 -1.5
Maharashtra 37 53 43.2
Andhra Pradesh 25 30 20
Tamil Nadu 21 18 -14.3
Punjab 11 28 154.5
Rajasthan 4 27 575
Gujarat 17 20 17.6
UP 2 14 600
West Bengal 0 13 ..
Delhi 12 5 -58.3
Others 37 51 37.8
Total 288 420 45.8

Out of the cases, 233 cases were registered under Section 66,  139 cases under Sec 67 and 21 cases under Sec 65 of ITA 2000. Under IPC 146 cases of Cyber Crimes were registered under "Forgery",  90 under "Criminal Breach" and 28 under other sections.

Totally 551 persons were arrested in connection with all the 420 cases.  288 of these were arrested on account of crimes registered under IT Act. 296 of the arrested persons were in the age group of 18-30 and another 202 in the age group of 30-45.

In summary the statistics confirm that Police are becoming more active in registering Cyber Crimes and the increase is actually indicative of police activity. Real incidence of crimes are expected to be far more than what above statistics indicate.

However, there is no statistics at present of the number of cases which have been concluded with prosecution of the criminals. The lack of Criminal prosecution may indicate either the inadequacies at the Police level to submit proper evidence and pursue the cases, it may also show indicate  the inadequacy of the Criminal Justice System for Cyber Crimes to the extent that there should be a serious thought on special magistrates designated exclusively for Cyber Crimes at least in the top two or three states like Karnataka, Kerala and Maharashtra.

Another notable feature is that leaving  aside Section 67 crimes, the 233 cases registered under Section 66 and 21 cases registered under Section 65 should have resulted in financial losses to some victims. In the normal course these 254 cases should have resulted in Adjudication complaints to the State Adjudicators.

In Karnataka alone out of 97 cases registered, nearly 50 should have resulted in Adjudication applications. However the adjudication applications received was zero. In Tamil Nadu while two adjudication applications have been received during the year, there could have been 8-10 cases which should have been referred to the Adjudicator.

The gap between crimes registered and adjudication applications filed indicates the acute ignorance amongst the victims about the availability of the adjudication  facility. At the same time, if all eligible cases do get registered as adjudication complaint, the Adjudicators would find it hard to meet the responsibilities due to shortage of infrastructure.

In States like Karnataka where there is a heavy demand for Adjudication, there is a serious thought required to be given as to the appointment of additional Adjudicators to meet the demand.

Thus the Judicial system both for criminal prosecution and civil claims appear to be lagging far far behind the requirements indicated by the registration of offences. We hope that the administrators both in the State law enforcement as well as the Judiciary try to address these issues.


January 23, 2011

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