Legal Provisions of Cybercrimes in Nepal

Cybercrime involving unauthorized access to computer systems, networks, or digital devices with the intent to manipulate, disrupt, or extract sensitive information. Cybercrime involving the deployment of malicious software to encrypt a victim’s files or entire computer system. They encompass diverse illegal activities that exploits vulnerabilities within the Computer System, Network and Digital Infrastructure.

1. Laws Governing Cyber Crimes in Nepal

Electronic Transaction Act is the Primary Law governing Cyber Crimes in Nepal. It was instituted recognizing the growing importance of electronic transactions and the need for legal frameworks to govern them.  It sets forth provisions aimed at authenticating and regularizing the recognition, validity, integrity, and reliability of various processes related to electronic records.

According to the Act, the key source of Cyber Crimes are electronic processes, from generation and production to processing, storage, communication, and transmission systems. It additionally contains provisions related to the legal consequences of unauthorized access, use, or alteration of electronic records.

2. Legal Provisions against Cyber Crime in Nepal

2.1 Pirating, Destroying, or Altering Computer Source Code

Any person who, with malafide intention, pirates, destroys, or alters computer source code, which is required to be kept in its current state as per prevailing law, for use in any computer, computer program, computer system, or computer network, or causes others to do so, shall be liable to the following punishment:

  • Imprisonment: Not exceeding three years
  • Fine: Not exceeding two hundred thousand Rupees

2.2 Unauthorized Access in Computer Materials

Any person who, with the intention to access any program, information, or data on a computer, uses the computer without the authorization of the owner or the responsible person, or even with authorization, engages in acts contrary to the authorization, shall be liable to the following punishment:

  • Fine: Not exceeding Two Hundred Thousand Rupees
  • Imprisonment: Not exceeding three years

2.3 Damage to any Computer and Information System

Any person who, knowingly and with malicious intent to cause wrongful loss or damage to any institution, destroys, damages, deletes, alters, disrupts any information of any computer source, diminishing its value and utility or affecting it injuriously, or causes another person to carry out such an act, shall be liable to the following punishment:

  • Fine: Not exceeding two thousand Rupees
  • Imprisonment: Not exceeding three years

2.4 Publication of illegal materials in electronic form

Any person who publishes or displays material in electronic media, including computer and the internet, which is prohibited by prevailing law or contrary to public morality or decent behavior, or materials spreading hate or jealousy or jeopardizing harmonious relations among various castes, tribes, and communities, shall be liable to the following punishment:

  • Fine: Not exceeding One Hundred Thousand Rupees
  • Imprisonment: Not exceeding five years

2.5 Confidentiality to Divulge

Any person who, without lawful authority provided in this Act, Rules, or prevailing law, having access to records, books, registers, correspondence, information, documents, or any other material under the authority conferred by this Act or Rules, divulges or causes to divulge the confidentiality of such materials to any unauthorized person, shall be liable to the following punishment:

  • Fine: Not exceeding Ten Thousand Rupees
  • Imprisonment: Not exceeding two years

2.6 Informing False Statement

Any person who, with the intention of obtaining a license from the Certifying Authority under this Act, or with any other intention towards the Controller or obtaining a Digital Signature Certificate, knowingly conceals or lies about any statement to be submitted to the Certifying Authority, shall be liable to the following punishment:

  • Fine: Not exceeding One Hundred Thousand Rupees
  • Imprisonment: Not exceeding two years

2.7 Submission or Display of False License or Certificates

Any person working as a Certifying Authority without a license issued by the Controller under this Act shall be liable to the following punishment:

  • Fine: Not exceeding one hundred thousand Rupees
  • Imprisonment: Not exceeding two years

Any person, without obtaining a license from the Certifying Authority, who publishes a fake license or false statement in regard to a license or provides it to any person by any means, shall be liable to the punishment not exceeding one hundred thousand Rupees if the act referred to in Sub-section (1) has not been accomplished by such a person.

If any person knowingly publishes or makes available a certificate to another person, and the certificate is not issued by the Certifying Authority referred to in such a certificate or the subscriber listed in such certificate has not accepted the certificate, or the certificate is already suspended or revoked, shall be liable to the following punishment:

  • Fine: Not exceeding one hundred thousand Rupees
  • Imprisonment: Not exceeding two years

2.8 Non-submission of Prescribed Statements or Documents

Any person responsible for submitting any statement, document, or report to the Controller or Certifying Authority under this Act or Rules framed hereunder, who fails to do so within the specified time limit, shall be liable to the following punishment:

  • Fine: Not exceeding fifty thousand Rupees.

Any person who fails to maintain duly any book, register, records, or account in a secured manner, as required under this Act or Rules framed hereunder, shall be liable to the following punishment:

  • Fine: Not exceeding fifty thousand Rupees.

2.9 Committing Computer Fraud

Any person who, with the intention to commit fraud or any other illegal act, creates, publishes, or otherwise provides a digital signature certificate, or acquires benefits from the payment of any bill, the balance amount of anyone’s account, any inventory, or ATM card, in connivance or otherwise by committing any fraud, shall be liable to the following punishment:

  • Fine: Not exceeding one hundred thousand Rupees
  • Imprisonment: Not exceeding two years

3. Cyber Crimes of Corporate Body

If any act is done by a corporate body that constitutes an offence under this Act, such an offence shall be deemed to have been committed by the person who was responsible as chief for the operation of the corporate body at the time of committing the offence.

If it is proved that any offence under this Act was committed by a corporate body with the consent, knowledge, or due to the negligence of a director, manager, secretary, or any other responsible person of such corporate body, such an offence shall be deemed to have been committed by both the corporate body and the director, manager, secretary, or other responsible person.

4. Conclusion

The Legal Provisions of Cyber Crimes, in consideration with Networking and Computer Systems can be broadly identified as related to pirating, destroying, or altering computer source code, unauthorized access in computer materials, damage to computer and information systems, publication of illegal materials in electronic form, confidentiality breach, false statements, submission or display of false licenses or certificates, non-submission of prescribed statements or documents, and committing computer fraud.

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