Electronic Crimes Act: Cybercrime to be made non-cognisable offence
ISLAMABAD: The newly formulated draft of Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act 2014 proposes some stringent punishments for cyber crimes but leaves all offences as bailable.
Many of the cybercrimes – including cyber terrorism, unauthorised interception, illegal access to information system and programme or data, illegal interference with programme or data, electronic forgery, identity crime and protection of women – have been covered under the proposed legislation.
However, the draft law, which will become act once the parliament approves it, is likely to face criticism as it gives absolute immunity to security agencies from any prosecution.
“The offences, powers and procedures provided under this Act are not related to and have no application upon the activities, powers or functions of intelligence agencies or services and are without prejudice to the operation of or powers exercised under section 54 of Pakistan Telecommunication Act, 1996, the Army Act 1952, the Air Force Act 1953, the Navy Ordinance 1961, the purview of the Intelligence Bureau, the intelligence agency or intelligence service notified by the Federal Government,” says the Clause 50 of the draft.
The draft law also leaves for the government to decide which of its agencies would perform the task of investigation and prosecution.
It can be Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) or any of the existing law enforcement agencies or the government can establish a new law enforcement agency for this purpose, the draft says.
However, only the authorised investigative agency would prosecute the offence. Such cases would be tried at not lower than session court or higher courts.
The arrests could be made only after the permission of a court and once the investigation officer satisfies the court that there exist reasonable grounds to believe it was necessary to proceed with such action.