Teens, First Time Cyber Offenders May Get Off Lightly

Bangalore: Indian government is thinking over on an act that will essentially help the millions of young cyber roamers who unwittingly commit cyber offence like accessing and circulating the offensive content, without knowing the consequences.

The act will enable a graded response from government to the offenders, which involves a warning and parental guidance for first-time offenders, many of whom do not realize the seriousness of their act, rather than invoking penal action straight away under the Information Technology Act.

The discussions on the law is still underway, where many feel that, a softer response from the government would be enough to effectively deal with the situation, considering the young age of usual net offenders. Moreover, the maximum penalty of seven years, which comes under the IT Act, for uploading and distributing objectionable, sexually explicit and communally sensitive messages, images and videos, is said to be too harsh.

Also many people feel that the legal proceedings initiated against a young or first-time offender, expose him to social disgrace and adversely affect his studies and career.  So even though the court decides the intensity of punishment, people want government to make a soft law, which would essentially help a first time offender, who committed the act without any pure intention.

According to the TOI, the home ministry and IT department are coordinating to mould the concept and National Security Council Secretariat was instrumental in this. "As of now, the only clarity is that a first-time offender will be dealt lightly through non-punitive remedies like warning, counseling and parental guidance. It is only where these approaches fail an FIR will be registered," said a source to TOI. 

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