Posted in Cyber Law, Utility

Reporting a cyber crime in India with just an e-mail

“Yesterday only, I received a call on my mobile device from an unknown number. The anonymous caller presented himself as some bank officer who was in immediate need of my ATM card number and CVV. After politely informing him that I’m a law student, I did disconnect the call.”

Well, not a new thing. Such happenings are way too common in our friend circle, family friends, and even ourselves and our parents. Law knowing persons including law professors, practitioners, and law students regularly receive phishing attempts, impersonating calls and emails on their electronic devices. What’s worse is that they choose to ignore such happenings.

Thanks to the recent legal developments in the Indian legal system, we can report such incidents just by dropping an email or reporting it to the local cyber cell.

What to report

Any cybercrime can be reported following the undermentioned steps. Whether a person is asking for your secret information or someone threatening you over Facebook, whether someone hate-texting you on Twitter or sending you sexually inappropriate messages on Whatsapp, you can (and must) report the incident by following the undermentioned steps.

For a rough idea regarding the ambit of the term ‘cybercrime’, it includes any illegal act that involves the usage of a computer or networking device. Read more here.

Where to report

Cyber crimes have global jurisdiction according to the IT legislation and therefore a complaint can be lodged in any cyber cell as per convenience.

How to report

First, you have to write an application addressing to the head of the cyber crime cell (head of the particular cyber crime cell to which you chose to report).

Note – Your application should include the following details:

  • Name
  • Address
  • E-mail address
  • Phone number

Second, attach the relevant and required documents. The type of documents required vary from offence to offence. For example, in case of hacking, you need to provide documents like logs of the server, a copy of the defected page, a copy of the original page, control mechanism details, list of suspects etc. In case of an impersonating call or message, the required documents include such call/message log, sender/caller details, impersonating details etc. Broadly speaking, attach any document that proves the existence of a prima facie case.

Third, send the email (along with the attached documents) to the concerned cyber crime cell using the contact details mentioned below.

Addresses of Cyber Crime Investigation Cells in India


Cyber Crime Police Station,

CID Annexe Building, Carlton House,

# 1, Palace Road,

Bangalore – 560001.

Telephone: +91- 080- 22942475, +91- 080- 22943050




SIDCO Electronics Complex,

Block No. 3, First Floor,

Guindy Industrial Estate,

Chennai -32

Ph: 044 22502526




Central Bureau of Investigation,

Plot No. 5-B, 6th Floor, CGO Complex,

Lodhi Road, New Delhi – 110003

Ph:+91-11-4362203, +91-11-4392424




In Charge Cyber Crime Police Station,

Hyderabad City.

Email :




ACP   Inspector Cyber Crimes

Sub-Inspector Cyber Crimes

IT Cell    Special Branch

Ph: 9491 039 167, 9491 039 172

9491 039 088, 040-2785 3413



Cyber Crime Investigation Cell,

Crime Branch, 4th Floor,

Administrative Building No. 1,

Near Udyog Bhavan,

Civil Lines, Nagpur-01.

Tel: +91 – 712 – 2566766



Office of Commissioner of Police

2, Sadhu Vaswani Road,

Camp, Pune – 411001

Phone: +91-20-020-26126296, 26122880, 26208250

Fax: 020 26128105.


E-Mail: /


Cyber Crime Investigation cell,

Annex III, 1st floor, Office of the Commissioner of Police,

D.N.Road, Mumbai – 400001

Ph: +91-22- 24691233

Web site:

E-mail id:



Website :


Ph: +91-9672700012



Madhya Pradesh

Inspector General of Police


Bhopal (M.P.)






Helpline Numbers:







3rd Floor, Office of Commissioner of Police,

Khalkar Lane, Court Naka, Thane (W)

Ph: 022-25410986



Uttar Pradesh

Cyber Complaints Redressal Cell,

Nodal Officer Cyber Crime Unit Agra,

Agra Range 7,Kutchery Road,


Uttar Pradesh

Ph : 0562-2463343, Fax: 0562-2261000



West Bengal


IIIrd Floor ,Bhawani Bhawan

Alipore, Kolkata – 700 0027

Phone Numbers – 033 2450 6100

Fax Number – 033 2450 6174




DIG, CID, Crime and Railways
Fifth Floor
Police Bhavan
Sector 18, Gandhinagar 382 018
Contact Details:
+91-79-2325 4384

+91-79-2325 0798
+91-79-2325 3917 (Fax)


IG-CID, Organized Crime

Rajarani Building, Doranda Ranchi, 834002

Ph: +91-651-2400 737/ 738


Don’t ignore crimes, no matter how small they may seem to be. You have a need to speak for yourself, and an obligation to lend your voice to those in need. Concluding with the words of Elie Wiesel:

“We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. Sometimes we must interfere.”

– Elie Wiesel, The Night Trilogy: Night, Dawn, the Accident




‘Passionate!’ That’s the only word he uses to describe himself. Questioning assumptions. Challenging hypocrisies. Making the planet a better place to live in.

Posted in Cyber Law, Utility

Protecting yourself against hacking

India is developing and taking a turn towards the path of digitalization. But it is our duty to keep our personal information private. It is adamant that the information can be stolen by the hackers and be used for any wrongful purpose. A man can forget but the internet never forgets and therefore, the information needs to keep in safe from the hands of the hackers. Hacking is an illicit attempt and unauthorised intrusion into hardware or software/ computer or a network.  It is the exploitation of the computer system or any private network of the company or any institution. Hacking can be done for personal conflict also. Hacking is a mala fide attempt to access or to take control over the network of others. Hacking is basically done by the hackers. There is no hard and fast rule to define and determine the hackers. Hacking is generally done by the one who is highly skilled and intelligent to crack the password of the other’s computer system or the network. Hacking is basically done by the professionals who have the knowledge of computer system in depth. If a real hacker wants to get information about your personal belongings, they can easily get that information through hacking.

Hackers are also known as “THE CRACKERS” as they crack the password of the network or the channel to get the information out of it. Hacking is a very vulnerable process and is the information is easily disclosed.

To protect yourself against hacking and getting your information be undisclosed, there are certain remedies to be followed so that the necessary and important information remains undisclosed and the hacker could not hack the computer in order to get the information.

  1. Passwords

You should create a strong password for your computer in respect of securing your data from the hackers. Passwords should be the combination of letters, numeric and symbols. You should reset the password from time to time. One should keep in mind that there should not be the same password for different accounts.

  1. Private website

If you have your own domain name, then there is a chance that your personal information including your number, an address is available to everybody. Hence, while registering, privatize your information so that hackers make not get any information.

  1. History data

The Internet has all the records what were you up to and what you are up to. So clear off the history data once in a while so that information cannot be leaked.

  1. Avoid open Wi-Fi AND Hotspot

Hackers are active through free Wi-Fi and hotspot and can steal your private data through open Wi-Fi or hotspot. Hence, avoid using the open Wi-Fi network or giving or taking hotspot connection from any other network. Instead, connect your internet in outside places.

  1. Public computers

Cyber cafes are the most reluctant places from where cyber crime happens. Using a private account through public computers may lead you in a difficult as it can go viral easily.

  1. Online transactions

These are the days where digitalization is at its peak but not to forget to use your card details alertly. There can be a chance of fraud by online companies to collect the details of your card and misuse it.


The speed of the internet is growing fast and we are lagging behind it. When we use anything, we should be aware of its pros and cons. Therefore, using internet also has its pros and cons and we should safely use it for our safety. Online transaction is on demand nowadays, and after demonetization, it has increased it pace like hell. So, while doing online transaction, we should know which all are the protected websites and from where your card details should not be leaked. We should stay cautious while using public programming system and avoid entering the personal bank accounts or social media details as there are chances for these accounts to be hacked. Nowadays, in this competitive world, every company and person needs to grow fast from the other and climb the mountain of success, for this sometimes, they hack the site or account of other person to grab the details of their marketing strategies, and hence, for this, hackers are hired by these big companies.




Sakshi Jain is currently pursuing her BLS LLB from Government Law College, Mumbai. Although she’s keen to gain knowledge and explore things going around her, her priority always stays focused on law only. Although she yearns for a career in the corporate sector, she’s quite confident regarding her capability to endure in other fields also. A passionate law student and a natural reader, she wants to complete her master degree from Harvard, Oxford, or London University.

Posted in Criminal Law, Cyber Law, Utility

Online sexual harassment

In India, irrespective of whether we live in the urban or the rural area, one of the things that remains a constant is misogyny. We face misogyny from our births till the end of our lives, right from female infanticide to child marriages and dowry deaths; from sexual harassment at workplace to marital rape and eve teasing; and from eve-teasing to acid-throwing and rape, women are at the receiving end of each ill-treatment. And as offended as we are with what happens in the offline/tangible world, this blog post is not about that. Slowly, like a sickly disease, this very prejudice against women can be seen permeating the digital world as well. It is kind of scary when we think about it. The online world was and is still a safe haven for many, including me. People were protected by the computer/mobile screen which does not allow for direct face-to- face communication or real relationships. Now, not so much.

Why is this so scary?

Crimes in India are all governed by the substantive law formulated under the IPC (Indian Penal Code). This means that possibly every real world offence (either a committed or an omitted act which is a violation of a legal right) that you can think of has been defined and has a quantum of punishment under the Indian Penal Code. For example, assault and battery, rape, murder, culpable homicide, theft, trespassing, outraging the modesty of women, etc. The list is endless, really.

Crimes of a sexual nature need such a great amount of evidence that most accused are acquitted (pronounced not guilty). Either the trial takes too long, or the investigation is botched, or the accused gets away on the basis of a technicality. Thus, the reality is that not all offenders are caught and put behind bars to suffer the consequences of their actions.

In comparison to other crimes against women, cyber-bullies often do not realise the nature of the wrongful act being committed by them.

Sexual harassment is a punishable offence in India, irrespective of whether it is in tangible or intangible form. It is imperative to know which acts constitute sexual harassment, and how to fight sexual harassment to have an understanding of its online aspect. Sexual harassment is defined as the unwanted intrusion of a sexual nature in the personal space of an individual.

Online sexual harassment can be punished under Section 67 of the Information Technology Act, 2000 along with relevant provisions of the IPC. For example, outraging the modesty of a woman, showing pornographic content without consent, making sexually coloured remarks or asking for sexual favors online are punishable offences under Section 67 of the Information Technology Act. This act makes transmitting or publishing obscene material in electronic form punishable by imprisonment upto 3 to 5 years and a fine of upto 5 to 10 lakh rupees.

Online sexual harassment has been found to manifest into three large categories:

a. the victim is on the receiving end of pornographic material, lewd comments and insults.

b. offensive material is posted about the victim on a public platform; or

c. offensive material of/about someone is posted without their consent.

Online sexual harassment has now become a harrowing reality faced by more than 70% of women in urban areas. In such a reality, it is of paramount importance that you know how to protect yourself from it.

Here is a step-by- step guide on how you can protect yourself against online offenders:

Step 1: Proceed with caution

A precautionary method to protect yourself is to privatise your social media accounts. This way, no anonymous user will ever be able to harass you as your posts will not show up on their feed. Also, make sure that the information you post on social media is not sensitive, i.e., photos of yourself and/or your phone number on public access networks. These can be used in a wrong way.

Step 2: Block, Block, Block

If the privatisation of your accounts is not enough and you still receive or are tagged in offending material, then you can block such a person. If anyone emails or texts you with objectionable material, block them. It’s the simplest way of protecting yourself from online trolls. All social media sites provide the facility of blocking hostile elements from your feed.

Step 3: Report to the host website

Any material which you find as derogatory to yourself or your views can be removed when you report such material to the host website. You can also report a person repeatedly for making derogatory remarks. This can get that person’s account shut down permanently by the host website.

Step 4: File an FIR

If a person is repeatedly sexually harassing you through multiple fake accounts, or publishing derogatory content posing as you, then you can file a police complaint against him/her to protect yourself.

Many women feel helpless when faced with online sexual harassment. However, one doesn’t need to live in fear anymore. Have faith in the judicial system and your modesty will be protected if the necessary precautions and actions are taken at the right time. Remember that Indian Penal Code as well as the Information Technology Act, 2000, have your back. One protects you in the real world whereas the other, in the virtual one. It must be kept in mind that the wheels of justice may be slow, but they exist nevertheless.

Now that you know about what steps to take in case you are ever faced by online trolls, let others gain from it too. Share the post, and let it reach far and wide, because someone somewhere might be facing an online harassment and may need help.



Khadija Khalil is currently pursuing 3 rd year of BLS/LLB course at Pravin Gandhi College of Law, Mumbai. With a love for the smaller things in life (being 5 ft tall), she is a geek who found law to be her fandom. Also a moot court enthusiast, because, why not.

Posted in Criminal Law, Cyber Law

Doctrine of Auto-block: Regulating the Search Engines

Lately, Beti Bachao Beti Padhao Yojana, (BBBP) was launched by the Honourable Prime Minister of India, an initiative by Ministry of Women and Child Development. It has been effective since January 2015. This BBBP Scheme was launched, in consequence of an alarm which was triggered by the Census of 2011, which reported 918 as the sex ratio of the child up to the age of 6 years, which has decreased from 927 in 2001, 934 in 1991, and 976 in 1961.[1]

Dr. Sabu Mathew George, filed a Public Interest Litigation, in the Apex Court, to draw the attention of the State towards, the advertisement, being promulgated electronically, for Pre-natal or Pre-conception Sex determination, by search engines within India.[2]

The above mentioned Writ Petition has been based on the violation of Section 22 of the Pre-conception and Pre-natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex Selection) Act, 1994 (PCPNDT Act), prohibits the advertising of the facilities available with any person, regarding the pre-natal determination of the sex or sex selection before conception. The Writ Petition highlighted the issue that three famous and widely used search engines, i.e. GOOGLE, BING, YAHOO SEARCH, are violating Section 22 of PCPNDT Act. They were involved in communication of the advertisement, though not advertising themselves.

On 16th August 2010, Cyber Laws Formulation and Enforcement Division, Government of India, Department of Information Technology, filed an affidavit with the Supreme of Court of India, with regard to differentiate between the terms “Advertisement” or “Sponsored Links” and “Organic Search Results”. In differentiating between them, it stated that ‘Organic Search Results’ emerges out of the automatic indexation of the material available on the internet, and that lies beyond the control of the search engines, while the ‘Sponsored Links’ are the advertisements which are displayed after the person, who wants to advertise, has agreed to the terms and conditions provided by the respective search engines. It further stated that, these search engines can only be liable to control the sponsored links and not the organic search results, as they only provide a corridor.

The Apex Court while rejecting the above argument, ordered on 4th December 2014, that an endeavour should be there to apply the provision of the PCPNDT Act, 1994. As a result, it demanded interference of the Government of India to control the ‘Organic Search Results’ of these search engines.Supreme Court, as a protective measure, directed on 28th January 2015, that GOOGLE, BING, YAHOO, shall not display advertisement or sponsor them, while violating Section 22 of the PCPNDT Act, 1994, and shall remove any of the existing advertisement.

Hence, to protect the sex ratio from declining, on 19th September 2016, Apex Court came out with the “Doctrine of Auto Block”, to bind, search engine companies, to block the search results, either ‘sponsored’ or ‘organic’, which would generate on the certain keywords being entered upon, which relates to the ‘pre-natal sex determination’ or ‘pre-conception sex determination’, etc. it has been invoked by Apex Court, because the companies, have denied their control over ‘organic search result’. Hence, this Doctrine covers both the ‘advertisement’ as covered under the PCPNDT Act, and other materials related which aids the gender selection.[3]

This Doctrine intends to block the application of the ‘auto-complete’ function, which helps to complete the keywords while searching for any specific thing, as suitable for the algorithm of search. ‘Doctrine of Auto Block’ invites the cooperation between Government of India and Private Companies, whose search engines, provide the corridor for the advertisements and such other related materials, which helps citizens of India, to avoid the natural selection of gender of their offspring.‘Doctrine of Auto Block’, has to be applied by the Search Engine Companies on their own, and they cannot depend on the Government, for blocking any specific, advertisement or content.

Order dated 19th September 2016, marks the failure of Central Supervisory Board created under the PCPNDT Act and Government of India, as Supreme Court which is a judicial body had to exercise its powers to apply, Doctrine of Auto Block, to block the advertisements along with the ‘related material’, which is available to the public to fulfill their mala fide motives.

The ‘Doctrine of Auto Block’ should be enshrined in the Section 69A of the Information Technology Act, 2000, which empowers the Government of India, to block the public access of any information in the interest of public order and which prevents incitement to the commission of any cognizable offence as mentioned under PCPNDT Act. Under this section, Government of India has absolute power to direct these intermediaries i.e. search engines to block such contents, whether as ‘sponsored’ or ‘organic search result’

[1] As provided by the Census of India, Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India

[2]Sabu Mathew George v. Union of India & Ors., Writ Petition (Civil) No.341/2008

[3] Order dated 19.09.2016, Sabu Mathew George v. Union of India & Ors., Writ Petition (Civil) No.341/2008




Dhruv Chandora is currently pursuing 4th year of BA LLB (Hons) course at Rajiv Gandhi National University of Law, Punjab. A voracious reader and a keen learner, Dhruv is also a moot court enthusiast.

Posted in Cyber Law

Legal status of Online Pharmacies in India

This article has been written by Aditi Gupta. Aditi is currently a student in National Law School of India University, Bangalore.

In the recent past, a lot of controversies have come to light with regards to e-pharmacies, the most significant one being whether e-pharmacies are legal in India or not. Other controversies include the use of ‘cyber physicians’ on some sites, the selling of medication without a doctor’s prescriptions on others. Some e-pharmacies are legitimate and also beneficial to consumers whereas others often engage in questionable practices.[1]There is a lot of ambiguity surrounding the question of the legal status of e-pharmacies in India. The food and drugs administrations (FDAs) of various states have filed legal complaints against online pharmacies, one illustration of this being the FIR filed by the Maharashtra FDA against the online seller Snapdeal for selling prescription drugs on the internet along with over-the-counter (OTC) drugs.[2]

The basic argument about the legality and viability of the online pharmacies has been regarding the sale of prescription drugs. Many e-pharmacies have adopted a method where the consumers are required to upload a virtual copy of their prescriptions or an e-prescription. This virtual prescription is then verified by the online pharmacy and accordingly the medicines are provided to the customers. Such a prescription can be used only once to purchase the prescribed medicines and cannot be re-used.

The law regarding e-pharmacies is filled with ambiguities, and therefore has been interpreted in the following manner and divided into three categories:

Green Zone

  • In this zone fall the medicines which can only be sold by a registered pharmacy having a pharmacist on its payroll.
  • The orders of sale can only be taken from regions where the retail license is valid and registered. For example, if the license for retail is valid only in Karnataka, then orders shall only be entertained for Karnataka.

Grey Zone

  • Every state has a state drug department that grants licenses for the sale of medical drugs only in that particular state.
  • There is ambiguity with regards to sale of medicines between different states, because there exists no provision for an inter-state license for sale of medical drugs.
  • There is also some ambiguity in relation to the collection of money before the delivery of medicines. This puts in question the legality of the payment through credit/debit card option given on the websites, where one can make the payment before the delivery of the medicines ordered.

Red Zone

  • sale of prescription drugs without a prescription from a doctor is prohibited.
  • Sale of drugs at a price higher than the price given as the maximum retail price (MRP) is an offence.

The validity and legality of e-prescriptions fall into a grey area of the law and therefore, acceptance of these prescriptions by e-pharmacies for supplying drugs against such prescriptions has been under the scanner.

Section 4 of the Information Technology(IT) Act deals with “Legal recognition of electronic records”[3]and Section 5 of the IT Act provides for “Legal recognition of electronic signature”[4]. Section 5 also gives the three prerequisites for legal recognition as that there should be a law that requires information, matter or document should signed by a person, in place of such signature, an electronic signature is affixed and such an electronic signature should be affixed in a manner prescribed by the central government. Rule 65 of The Drugs and Cosmetic Rules, 1945 give that “a prescription should be in writing and signed by the person giving it with his usual signature and be dated by him”.[5]This reading of sections 4 and 5 of the IT Act along with Rule 65 of the Drugs and Cosmetics Rules satisfy the legality and validity of an e-prescription, a prescription written and signed electronically.

The position of law on the legality of e-prescriptions has been settled by the recently enacted Pharmacy Practice Regulations, 2015. Section 2(j)(3) of the Regulations give the definition of a prescription as a “written and electronic direction from a Registered Medical Practitioner or other properly licenses practitioners to a pharmacist to compound and dispense a specific type and quality of preparation or prefabricated drug to a patient”.[6] This definition makes clear that e-prescriptions are valid and legally recognizable.

Therefore, it can be concluded that doctors can prescribe medication to their parents through an electronic prescription as well, but the issue remains whether or not the present Indian laws allow for these e-prescriptions to be used for buying medicines online as well or only for buying from a physical pharmacy.

In India, the sale of prescription drugs is regulated by laws formulated under “the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940, Drugs and Cosmetics Rules, 1945, and Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements) Act, 1954”. All these Acts are pre-colonial and therefore could not have anticipated the online selling of pharmaceutical products through e-pharmacies. Hence, these laws are silent on the issue of e-pharmacies and do not have any laws to regulate online selling of prescription drugs. Since the Indian laws are silent on the functioning and regulating of online pharmacies, many online pharmacy websites have taken the regulations given under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act for running physical pharmacies as being applicable to online pharmacies as well, constructing them to be legal per se.

In July 2015, the health ministry of India ordered the constitution of a subcommittee to look into the issue of online pharmacies. The Committee has been constituted under the headship of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner of Maharashtra,HarshadeepKamble. The issue before the subcommittee was the examination of the online sale practices carried out by developed countries and how they have impacted public health in these countries and whether their implementation is possible in India. The committee has invited comments and inputs from various stakeholders such as public companies, trade bodies amongst others. The sub-committee has not submitted its report yet.[7]

On October 29, 2015, the Bombay High Court declared that the online sale of medicines given under schedule H of DCA without a prescription or a cash memo is illegal and asked the Maharashtra government to take the steps necessary to prevent unauthorised and illegal selling of scheduled drugs on the internet. This was a consequence of a PIL seeking a ban on e-pharmacies selling prescription drugs without prescriptions or cash memos.[8]

The guidelines on regulation of e-pharmacies proposed by FICCI should be put in force to ensure consumer safety while carrying out transactions of pharmaceutical products online. Implementation of these guidelines will also create responsibilities on the part of the e-pharmacies to make sure that they do not sell illegal or counterfeit pharmaceutical products and provide the consumers with all the necessary information for buying medicines online. The VIPPS accreditation program introduced by the NABP in the US can be incorporated in India as well to make e-pharmacies safe for Indian consumers. The concept of designing a secure app for purchasing medicines online will also contribute to increasing the ease of access of the consumers to medical supplies.

[1]Supra note 10.

[2]EkalvyaMalvai, Legality Of Selling Medicines Online In India,

[3] Section 4, Information and Technology Act, 2000.

[4] Section 5, Information and Technology Act, 2000.

[5] Rule 65 of The Drugs and Cosmetic Rules, 1945.

[6] Section 2(j)(3), Pharmacy Practice Regulations, 2015.

[7]Available at (Last visited on January 2, 2016)

[8]PIL filed against online sale of drugs, Indian Express,available at (Last visited on January 2, 2016).


The November book bucket

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