According to Cambridge Dictionary, internet trolling means “the act of leaving an insulting message on the internet in order to annoy someone.” A troll is web slang for someone who by design tries to instigate conflict, hostility, or arguments in a web social community. Trolls mainly target the comment sections of YouTube, forums, or chat rooms.

The emergence of the name refers to the way that Internet trolls try to lure victims through comments, just like fishermen use special bait and bait to catch fish. Another reference to the mythological troll, a disgusting creature that hides in dark places in search of prey. According to review printed by University of Manitoba in Canada, the people that get entangled in angling usually have the traits of narcissist, psychopaths and sadists, who do show pride within the sufferings of others. According to Professor Mark Griffiths, this can be done out of boredom, for fun, or with the intention of revenge, sometimes crossing the ethical and legal limits.

In India, internet trolling or bullying is a very common. People tend to create fake social media ids and bully anyone, mostly celebrities. No specific law exists against trolling as it may hinder the freedom of speech. But there are few such legal actions which can be proved to be effective while dealing with such trolls.

  1. Defamation – An action of libel, under Section 499 of the Indian Penal Code can be brought against a troll, when he intimidates any person by posting abusive or offensive in his account.
  2. Sexual Harassment – If a troll posts a demand or request of sexual favours from a woman; makes sexually coloured remarks to a woman or messages any pornographic contents against her will, that troll can be held liable for sexual harassment under Section 354A of the Indian Penal Code.
  3. Online Stalking – If a troll makes continuous attempt to establish a personal relationship with a woman through the internet, emails or any electronic communication means; or monitors the use by a woman of internet, email or any other electronic communication, that troll is said to commit the offence of stalking and can be held liable for the same under Section 354D of the Indian Penal Code.
  4. Insulting the modesty of a woman – When a person trolls a woman by posting obscene messages, videos, drawings or photos, which also causes an intrusion into such woman’s privacy, the former can be held liable under Section 509 of the Indian Penal Code.
  5. Criminal Intimidation – Where a person goes online, anonymously and threatens commit a dangerous injury like rape to a woman, that person or troll can be held actionable under Section 507 of the Indian Penal Code. It is to be noted that the victim must be a woman.
  6. Violation of privacy – At times trolls tend to post private pictures of the person, he is trolling. In such a case an action under Section 66E of the Information Technology Act, 2000 can be brought against the troll.
  7. Publishes offensive material in the Internet – According to Section 67 of the Information Technology Act, 2000, “ Whoever publishes or transmits or causes to be published or transmitted in the electronic form, any material which is lascivious or appeals to the prurient interest or if its effect is such as to tend to deprave and corrupt persons who are likely, having regard to all relevant circumstances, to read, see or hear the matter contained or embodied in it, shall be punished on first conviction with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three years and with fine which may extend to five lakh rupees and in the event of second or subsequent conviction with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to five years and also with fine which may extend to ten lakh rupees.” Thus, under this section, a troll may be punished for posting any offensive content, even if the content is not sexual in nature.

Communicating with trolls is useless and can damage one’s sanity. According to reports, the psychological effects of victims include increased social anxiety and depression, and decreased self-esteem. Though the above-mentioned laws are fruitful, the most commonly used defence is simply ignoring them, which can sometimes prove to be effective.

It is to be noted that when any person opens a social media account that person is not the owner of the account but mere licensees. These persons can express anything about themselves, but when they choose to speak about others they are bound by the Indian legislature, since freedom of speech and expression is not an absolute right. While exercising one’s own right to freedom of speech and expression, he must not frustrate other’s right to reputation, right to privacy, etc.  

Aishwarya Says:

I have always been against Glorifying Over Work and therefore, in the year 2021, I have decided to launch this campaign “Balancing Life”and talk about this wrong practice, that we have been following since last few years. I will be talking to and interviewing around 1 lakh people in the coming 2021 and publish their interview regarding their opinion on glamourising Over Work.

If you are interested in participating in the same, do let me know.

Do follow me on FacebookTwitter  Youtube and Instagram.

The copyright of this Article belongs exclusively to Ms. Aishwarya Sandeep. Reproduction of the same, without permission will amount to Copyright Infringement. Appropriate Legal Action under the Indian Laws will be taken.

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We also have a Facebook Group Restarter Moms for Mothers or Women who would like to rejoin their careers post a career break or women who are enterpreneurs.

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