The main aim of the act is to legalize the digital language so that people can easily and without fear use the electronic devices for their own purposes like doing business or for entertainment. It prescribes certain offences and penalties to keep a check on the cyber crime, the main of them are:
- Section 65: Tampering with Computer Source Documents
- Section 66: Hacking with Computer System
- Section 67: Publishing of obscene information which is obscene in electronic form.
- Section 70: breach of confidentially and privacy.
In addition to above, Section 77 of the Act states that “No penalty imposed or confiscation made under this Act shall prevent the imposition of any other punishment to which the person affected thereby is liable under any other law for the time being in force.” which means the civil crimes can also be made as Criminal Act, as
- Computer Network Breaking and Hacking: – S. 66(2) of I.T. Act and S. 441 of IPC
- Child Pornography: – S. 67 of I.T. Act and S. 294 of IPC
- Email- bombing: – S. 43(e) of I.T. Act and S. 425-441 read with S447 of IPC
- Password Sniffing: – S. 43(a), (g) of I.T. Act and S. 419 of IPC
- Credit Card Fraud: – I.T. Act and S. 443 (a) and (g) read with 426, 427 and 447 of IPC.
Jurisdiction is one of the debatable issues in the case of cyber crime due to the very universal nature of the cyber crime. With the ever-growing arm of the cyber space the territorial concept seems to vanish. New Methods dispute resolution should give way to the conventional methods. Thus, the Information Technology Act, 2000 is silent on these issues.
Though S. 75 provides for extra-territorial operations of this law, but they could be meaningful only when backed with provisions recognizing orders and warrants for Information issued by competent authorities outside their jurisdiction and measure for cooperation‘s for exchange of material and evidence of computers crimes between law enforcement agencies.
The word ‘Pornography’ is derived from the Greek words ‘Porne’ means prostitute ‘graphein’ means to write. It further implies that the subject is not mutual love or love at all, but domination and violence against women. It ends with a root ‘graphos’, which means ‘writing about’ or ‘description of’ which puts still more distance between the subjects and objects. Thus, it induces a spontaneous deep desire for closeness with object and voyeur, a dangerous situation rendering a person to become a covert, passive, and powerless observer of the pornographic activities written or otherwise available in cyberspace. Originally, limited to any art or literary work dealing with sex and sexual themes, its scope has now broadened. Pornography is easily recognized but is often difficult to define concisely.
Pornography being a international problem had been a query for many of law formulating agency, there are various problem in describing the term pornography. Even in I.T. Act, 2000 in India, the term has not been defined.
Types of Jurisdiction
Pecuniary means “related to money”. It addresses the question of whether the court is competent to try the case of the monetary value of suit in question. The code allows trying a case unless the suit’s value exceeds the pecuniary limit of the court. One of the purposes of the jurisdiction is to prevent the burdening of cases in the courts. Different kinds of courts are granted different monetary limit to hear cases based on the valuation of each suit. The limit is dynamic.
Section 15 of the Code directs the institution of the suit in the court of the lowest grade. It refers to the pecuniary jurisdiction of the civil court. It is a rule of procedure and it does not impact the jurisdiction of the court. Thus, the decree passed by a higher graded court is not void per se.
The main purpose of defining pecuniary jurisdiction is to prevent the court of a higher degree from getting burdened and to provide convenience to the parties. Generally, the court accepts the valuation of the plaintiff. However, the court shall intervene if it finds the valuation to be wrong. For example, “A” wants to sue “B” for breach of contract to recover Rs. 5000 in Bombay. The Bombay High court has original jurisdiction and the Small causes court with the jurisdiction up to Rs. 50000. So, a suit to recover Rs. 5000 should ideally be instituted by A in Small causes court.
In the case of Karan Singh v. Chaman Paswan, the plaintiff filed a suit at the court of the subordinate court at Rs. 2950 but the court dismissed the case. Plaintiff appeal in the District Court was also dismissed. Later, his second appeal was accepted by the High Court, but it ordered him to pay the deficit amount. With the valuation revised it fell under the jurisdiction of the Subordinate judge, but the appeal would directly be at High court. The appellant contended that the decision of the District Court will be a nullity, but the High court dismissed the contention. Later, the appellant approached the Supreme court which upheld the decision of the High court stating that the decision of the District court won’t be void.
In this kind of jurisdiction, the geographical limits of a court’s authority are demarcated. It cannot supersede the territorial limit. It is the extent of the area to which the court’s authority extends. In other words, It is the territorial limit of the law or court’s power.
Furthermore, section 16 defines the territorial jurisdiction on the basis of the location of the immovable property. Harshad Chiman Lal Modi v. D.L.F. Universal Ltd. In this case, the court interpreted section 16 that the suit pertaining to immovable property should be bought to a court where the res is situated. The court where the property is not situated does not have any powers to decide the rights in such property. However, the court can still pass a relief if the opposite party agrees to try the suit in such a case.
If the immovable property is situated within the jurisdiction of more than one court that the suit can be instituted at the court where any portion of the property is situated. However, in the case wherein it is ambiguous that within which court’s jurisdiction, several courts appear to have jurisdiction, the property is situated then any one of the courts could entertain the suit with the reasons recorded in writing.
In the suits related to the wrong (including the compensation for such wrong) to movable property, the plaintiff can institute the suit either at the place wherein the wrong was committed or the place where the defendant resides, carries business, works. In the situation where the wrong constitutes of a series of acts than the suit can be filed at either of the places. In case wherein the wrongful act was committed at one place and it’s consequences were in the other place then the plaintiff can file the claim at either of the place. For example, If Om, a resident of Ayodhya beats Harry in Mumbai, Harry may institute a suit in Ayodhya or Mumbai.
Section 20 of the CPC covers the cases that have not been envisaged in any of the previous section. The plaintiff is at the liberty to institute a suit in any of the following places:
- The place where the cause of action arose, completely or in parts,
- Wherein the defendant carries out his business or resides or works or,
- In the case of multiple defendants, wherein any of the defendant resides or carries out their business or reside or work for gain.
For instance, Laxman is a merchant in Mirzapur. Ram carries business in Delhi. Ram through his agent bought goods from Laxman in Mirzapur and asked Laxman to deliver them to Namit. Laxman delivered the goods as required. Laxman can sue Ram for prices either in Mirzapur wherein the cause of action arose or in Delhi wherein the defendant resides. In another illustration wherein Bhrigu resides in Rampur, Sanat in Lakhanpur and Subhash in Calcutta. They all agree to conduct business in Ahmedabad and signed a contract with conditions. Sanat and Bhrigu breached a condition in the contract in Ahmedabad. Subhash can institute the suit in Ahmedabad or at Rampur wherein Bhrigu resides or at Lakhanpur wherein Sanat resides. Provided that the non-resident defendant in the case should not object.
The objective of this section is to secure justice and protect defendants from unwarranted expenses of travelling long distances in the cases in which he/she might be involved.
Subject Matter Jurisdiction
The subject matter can be defined as the power vested in a court to hear and try cases pertaining to a particular type and subject matter. It relates to the nature of the claim. In other words, it means that certain courts are excluded from hearing cases of nature. No question of merits can be decided by the courts which do not have subject matter jurisdiction. The court, in that case, can only decide only on jurisdiction and return the plaint. For instance, Kabira, a resident of Raipur, bought a food item of ZZ brand that was infested with pests. He should sue the ZZ company in Raipur District Forum rather than District Civil court of Raipur.
Section 21 of the code is related to the stage challenging the jurisdiction. In the case of Harshad Chiman Lal Modi v. DLF Universal Ltd. and Anr., In the instances of territorial and pecuniary jurisdiction, objections must be raised in the earliest opportunity and before the settlement of issues. However, with respect to the subject matter jurisdiction, the court without jurisdiction over subject matter cannot take up the suit. Any order passed by such a court will be void.
It refers to the court’s authority to take cognizance of cases that could be adjudicated in those courts in the first instance itself. Unlike the appellate jurisdiction wherein the courts review the already decided matter, here the cases are heard afresh. For instance, the Madras High court has the original jurisdiction with respect to matrimonial, probate, company matters and testamentary.
This refers to the court’s authority to review or rehear the cases that have already been decided in the lower courts. It is generally conferred upon the higher courts. In the Indian context, both the High court and Supreme court have the appellate jurisdiction to take matters that are bought in the form of appeals.