Is Sexting a Crime In India ?
NAME: R. Rebecca Vasanthini Percy
DESIGNATION: Law student, School of Excellence of Law
E-MAIL ADDRESS: REBS1175@GMAIL.COM
Many of the youngsters in today’s society tend to think that sharing their sexual feelings and yearning online to their loved ones is cool. They perceive it as euphoria by expressing their feelings, pictures and intimate desires on an online platform. In many countries the theory of sexting is not a crime but it is not the same in India.
The term sexting was first used in 2004, in Canada’s article entitled “The Globe and Mail”. This article expressly dealt with comments and SMS which is sent in mobile phones with a sexual slang and with a text on the other side as sexting. In America the concept of sexting was known in 2005 by the “Los Angeles Times” article. In New York it was widely spread in the year 2009. Later the notion of sexting entered into India and became popular and trending among the teenagers.
Sexting is the process of sending highly intimate pictures between couples or sharing their explicit feelings online on social media platforms which is considered as a consequential offence in India for which legal action can be imposed on the couples, especially on the youngsters aged below 18 years. Sexting on online platforms is criminalised to safeguard the youngsters as they feel good to chat sexually and send in their intimate pictures or videos online, but it can also be turned in as a disaster when the person starts blackmailing with those pictures. There were various controversies over sharing of nude or semi-nude photos through social media platforms to their loved ones which turned out to be a disaster for many by being cheated which in turn made them to take extreme steps in life (i.e.) to commit suicide because their whole picture along with their face was uploaded in websites and you tube.
Nowadays, teenagers have realised and invented a concept known as safe sexting wherein they hide their faces and take pictures only of their bodies and send so that there can be no trace or evidence as to who it was. This is considered to be as a fashion whereas it is totally not.
We are living in a modernised world and also amidst the cyber criminals, who hack our accounts, threaten and make money out of it. As sexting was criminalised there was huge out cry among the youngsters as their privacy is breached but its totally baseless as online sexting does not give them privacy. They are not aware that millions of eyes are watching their conversations and videos online which could turn out to be a nightmare for them. Approximately 40% of teenagers have indulged in sexting out of which 22% is from teen girls and 18% from teen boys as per the latest statistical report. Sections 66A, 67, 67A and 67B of the IT Act, 2000 has made sexting and online sexual remarks a criminal offence.