India’s cyber infrastructure needs more than patches

India’s cyber infrastructure needs more than patches

For Mains


The concerns about cybercrime in India:

  • According to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), there has been an increase in cases of cybercrime from 12,317 in 2016, to 50,035 cases registered in 2020.
  • However, despite this increasing trend, the ability of law enforcement agencies to investigate/prosecute cybercrime remains limited.
  • Since, ‘police’ and ‘public order’ comes under state list, the primary obligation to check crime and create the necessary cyberinfrastructure lies with States.
  • At the same time, with the IT Act and other associated major laws being central legislations, the central government is equally responsible to create uniform statutory procedures for the enforcement agencies.

What are the areas lacking to tackle cybercrime?

  • It must also be noted that there is no separate procedural code for the investigation of cyber or computer-related offences.
  • Electronic evidence is entirely different in nature when compared with evidence of traditional crime, hence it is essential to lay down standard and uniform procedures to deal with electronic evidence.
  • Another major reason of concern is the lack of qualified personnel for investigating cyber crimes since a regular police officer, with an academic background in the arts, commerce, literature, or management may be unable to understand the nuances of the working of a computer or the Internet.
  • Such an officer can at best, act as a first responder who could identify digital evidence and secure the scene of crime or preserve digital evidence till the arrival of an expert.
  • Most cyber crimes are trans-national in nature with extra-territorial jurisdiction, which makes collection of evidence a tedious process filled with bureaucratic red tape.


What has been done

  • Supreme court in Arjun Pandit Rao Khotkar vs Kailash Kushanrao Gorantyal & Orsheld that a certificate under Section 65B(4) of the Indian Evidence (IE) Act was a mandatory prerequisite for the admissibility of (secondary) electronic record if the original record could not be produced. This gave some clarity regarding handling of evidence in cybercrime cases.
  • The Government of India has set up the Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre (I4C) under the Ministry of Home Affairs to deal with all types of cybercrime.
  • A five-judge committee was constituted in July 2018 to frame the draft rules which could serve as a model for the reception of digital evidence by courts.


What needs to be done?

  • Government needs to create a separate procedural code for the investigation of cyber or computer-related offences.
  • There needs to be renewed efforts to recruit technical staff for the investigation of cybercrime.
  • Governments can either set up a separate cyber-police station in each district or range, or have technically qualified staff in every police station.
  • The cyber forensic laboratories of States must be upgraded with the advent of new technologies.
  • State cyber labs need to be notified as ‘Examiner of Electronic Evidence’ by the central government to enable them to provide expert opinion on electronic records



For more updates Click here