After a delay of about a year, the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India published ‘Crime in India 2017’. The report comprehensively analyzes the incidences of crime across the country in the corresponding year 2017.
Although there are many categories of crime under the report, this article will focus on the rate of cyber crimes in India. According to the NCRB report, the number of cyber crime cases in 2015 was 11,592. The number of cases jumped to 12,317 in 2016, which was considered a low increment in comparison to the previous year.
However, in 2017, the number of cyber crime cases rose to 21,796, an increase of about 77% from the previous year.
Uttar Pradesh registered the highest number of cyber crime cases in the country. The state, with 4,971 cases in 2017, comprised of 22.8% share of the total cyber crime cases in the country.
Karnataka saw a rise of 185% cyber crime cases from the previous year (1,101 cases in 2016 and 3,174 cases in 2017).
Although the highest number of cyber crime cases were registered in Uttar Pradesh, Assam accounted for the highest cases calculated per one lakh of population (3.4 cases per lakh population).
In one of the remarkable highlights of the report, five states from the Northeastern region i.e Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim and Tripura recorded zero percentage of cyber crime cases.
The total number of offences under the Information Technology (IT) Act was 13,635. Under this category, computer-related offences registered the highest cases totalling about 10,108 cases. As per the breakdown, there were 3,724 cases of Identity Theft and 3,508 cases of ransomware and other ransomware offences. In both the subdivisions, Uttar Pradesh recorded the highest cases. There were 2,269 cases of cheating by personation (by using computer-related resources). Karnataka was the highest in this case.
Assam featured as ‘the state with the highest cases of Violation of Privacy under the IT Act’. All India total cases under this category was 247.
Publication/transmission of obscene/sexually explicit act in electronic form (under Section 67 of the IT Act) formed the highest offences against women and children. There were such 1,768 cases during the corresponding year with Uttar Pradesh being the highest shareholder. Cyber stalking/ bullying of women and children also recorded a total of 542 cases. Maharashtra single-handedly had 301 cases out of 542 total cases in the country.
Data Theft has been one of the biggest problems in the last few years. A total number of 307 cases were registered under this category and Telangana had a solo share of 201 cases out of the 307 total cases in the country. There were 13 cases of Cyber Terrorism across the country, of which, 5 cases were reported from Himachal Pradesh.
The number of cases registered under Fraud (Section 420 read with Section 465,468-471 of the Indian Penal Code) is as follows:
- Credit/Debit cards: Total of 395 cases. Highest in Maharashtra with 141 cases.
- ATMs: Total of 1,543 cases. Highest in Maharashtra with 598 cases.
- Online Banking Fraud: Total of 804 cases. Highest in Maharashtra with 345 cases.
- One Time Password (OTP) Frauds: A total of 334 cases. Highest in Maharashtra with 122 cases.
The total number of offences registered under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) was 7,976. There were a total of 170 cases under Fake News on Social Media. The highest number of fake news on social media came from Assam (56 cases). Cyber Blackmailing and threatening were also highest in Assam with 70 cases out of the total 311 cases in the country.
The NCRB cited around 17 crime motives. Out of which, Fraud topped the list as the most followed motives among the criminals. There were 12,213 cases with the motive of ‘Fraud’. This was followed by sexual exploitation with 1,406 cases and causing disrepute with 1,002 cases.
Inciting hatred against the country comprised of 206 cases and political motive formed 139 cases. There were also various other motives such as extortion, personal revenge, anger, prank, terrorist activities, disrupt the public services, sale purchase of illegal drugs, spreading piracy, abetment to suicide etc.
Under the IT Act, the total cases for investigation in 2017 amounted to 22,513. Out of this large figure, only 9,750 cases were disposed of by the police. 1,956 cases were chargesheeted. And around 5,457 cases were marked true but the final report closed due to insufficient evidence, untraced or no clue. The pendency rate was 56.6%.
Under the IPC, the total case for investigation in 2017 was 13,827. Out of which 4,135 cases were disposed of by the police. 1,916 cases were charge-sheeted. The pending rate was 70%, higher than the offences under the IT Act.
Some facts under the IT Act offences:
- Maharashtra had the highest total cases for investigation (7,451 cases).
- Nagaland had zero cases under investigation.
- Uttar Pradesh charge-sheeted 1,700 cases, which is the highest in the country.
- Uttar Pradesh had the highest police disposal of crime (3,740 cases).
- Maharashtra had the highest number of pending cases at the end of the year (5,583).
- The All India Pendency rate was 61.7%
- The police arrested 6,264 male and 119 female.
- The police charge-sheeted 4,926 male and 77 female.
Under the IT Act offences, the courts had 8,881 cases for trial. But only 501 cases were disposed of by the Courts. 115 cases were convicted and 323 acquitted. 44 cases were disposed of without trial. The total cases pending trial at the end of the year piled up to 8,380 which accumulated to 94.4% pendency rate. The conviction rate was 25.2%.
Under the IPC offences, the total number of cases for trial was 4,465. However, the court disposed only 229 cases. The court disposed of 40 cases without trial. 32 cases were convicted and 155 were acquitted. The total cases pending trial at the end of the year were 4,236. With just 16.9%, the conviction rate was even lower than the cases under the IT Act. The pendency rate was an enormous 94.9%.
A number of reasons for the rise in cyber crime have been cited by the experts like a lenient cyber protection law in the country, lack of proper infrastructure and manpower etc. Therefore, there is a need to bring a solution by reframing the legal mechanisms, law enforcement agencies and improvement in the infrastructure.