CYBERBULLYING AND HATE SPEECH ON SOCIAL MEDIA: EVALUATING LEGAL REMEDIES FOR VICTIMS IN INDIA
Cyberbullying and online hate speech are pervasive issues affecting millions of internet users, especially young people. This research examines the legal framework in India for addressing cyberbullying and online hate speech, such as provisions in the IT Act and IPC. However, gaps exist as these laws were not designed for digital spaces. This paper analyzes potential legal remedies for victims, including strengthening intermediary regulations for social media platforms, enhancing law enforcement capabilities, empowering victims with civil remedies like injunctions and damages, and alternative dispute resolution methods. Doctrinal and qualitative research methods are utilized to evaluate these remedies. Findings suggest that while criminal laws help punish perpetrators, they have limited ability to prevent harms and compensate victims. Hence, solutions like imposing a duty of care on intermediaries to moderate content, allowing anonymity removal to aide enforcement, establishing cyber-courts and fast-track procedures for civil suits, and promoting mediation and restorative justice to give victims a voice, are proposed. The paper concludes that a multifaceted strategy is required to address this complex issue. Holistic legal reforms that balance free speech, privacy, prevention of harm, accountability, and user welfare are recommended.