The Computer Crime Act of Sri Lanka

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Among the various types of crimes, Computer crime is a generic term which used to identify all crimes and frauds that are connected with or related to computers and information technology. Components of computer crimes could be divided into 3 categories as follows:

  1. Computer related crimes – use computers as tools for criminal activities
  2. Hacking offences – affect integrity, confidentiality of a computer system or network
  3. Content related cybercrimes – to distribute illegal data’s computers are used together with internet resources

In order to punish the criminals and reduce this type of crimes, this act was enacted by parliament and certified by the speaker as the ‘Computer Crimes Act No. 24 of 2007. This legislation is the result of numerous contributions from sources such as the CINTEC law committee, a sub-committee of law commission and the ministry of justice. This act helps to assure the trustworthiness of the technology and help the users to operate it in a better environment than before. The brief explanation about sections of Computer crime act. The Section 2 of the Sri Lankan Computer Crimes Act mention that securing unauthorized access to a computer is an offence either within the country or outside of the country. Coming 3, 4 & 5 sections are enhances versions of unauthorized access which include criminalized unauthorized access with the intention of committing another offence and any persons causes a computer to perform a function which may results in an unauthorized modification and damage to computer or system or program.

The charge of this offence is a fine not exceeding two hundred thousand rupees or imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to five years or both such fine and imprisonment. In section 6, due to any action that related to computer is affected any national security, national economy and public order is an offence. The charge of this offence is imprisonment not exceeding five years. 7th section illustrates about data and information. Any person obtain any information without lawfully is an offence. Getting information includes buying, receiving, downloading, uploading, selling. Section 8 mention regarding the interception of information or traffic data or any communication, to, from or within a computer and any electromagnetic emissions relating things. section 9, explain about to deals with the offence of using (produce, sell, procures for use, imports, exports, distributes etc.,) of illegal devices Section 10 mention that any person entrusted with information provided through a computer, discloses same without express authority. Under sections 7, 8, 9 and 10 offences court fine not less than one hundred thousand rupees and not exceeding three hundred thousand rupees and sometime imprisonment between six months and three years, or to both Section 11 mention any person, who attempts or cause an offence to be committed under sections 3 upto 14 of this act, shall be guilty and on conviction is liable to one and half of the or both.

Section 12 refers to an abetment of an offence. (a) If the offence is due to the abetment, be liable to the same punishment and (b) if the offence is not committed due to the abetment, be liable to one fourth of the fine or imprisonment or to both. Section 13 mention any person who conspires to commit an offence shall be liable to be punished with the punishment prescribed for abetting to commit an offence. Section 14, where the committed offence is proved, the court shall order to compensate the victim along with the punishment enclosed and if any monetary gain being accrued illegally, it should be paid back to the state/government. Section 15 offences under this act to be investigated and section 16 – offence under the act to be cognizable offence under the provisions of the Code of Criminal procedure Act no.15 of 1979 Section 17, if a team of experts needed for the investigation of an offence, it can be appointed in consultation with the ministers of technology and justice. This section explains the qualifications and activities of the above team. Section 18 explains of the investigation and arrest the criminal under warrant and decides the extent of the minister’s involvement in this regard. Section 19 mention the facts that are in an unprotected computer, required for future investigation, can be safe-guarded through the owner within a week’s time. If required the period of 7 days can be extended upto 90 days through a judge.

In a country law is the system of rules and regulations which helps keep orders through controlling the behavior of the citizens. To do this task law spans to various sectors. Following are the some important laws used to do this task. Administrative law – contain rule making, enforcement, adjudication which made by government for its offices. Civil law – deals with the codified laws. Deals with the disputes among individuals who are not criminals in nature. Commercial law – deals with the contract between commodity manufacturers, distributers and consumers. Property law, bankruptcy law, credit card laws Constitutional law – basis of all laws. Defines the fundamental rights and duties of all citizens and the government. Construction law – deals with the standards set by the government and state government for any kind of construction Corporate law – deals with separate legal personality, transferred shares, power of board of directors and also with the subjects like contracts, matters dealing with intellectual property rights of corporation Family law – deals with family affairs includes marriage, adoption, divorce, alimony, property distribution, domestic violence, surrogacy etc... Human right law – protect every individual’s fundamental and basic rights Intellectual property law – deals with the intangible matters like copyrights, brand names etc… Labor law – rights of labors, enforcement of standards are considered under this category IT Law - hav to give some more explanation

Information and Communication Technology Act No.27 of 2003

Intellectual Property Act No. 36 of 2003 (Sections related to Copyright) Electronic Transactions Act No. 19 of 2006 Computer Crimes Act No. 24 of 2007 Payment And Settlement Systems Act, No. 28 of 2005 Payment Devices Frauds Act No.30 of 2006 Visit e-Laws Project page of ICTA web site Mobile Payment Guidelines - 13_mobile_payment_2011_1e Mobile Payment Guidelines - 14_mobile_payment_2011_2e Electronic Payments to Government Institutions PF447E Electronic Payments by Government Institutions 02_2013E Use of Electronic Documents and Electronic Communication for Official Use –Circular Case law relating to IT Sri Lankan case law

  1. In Benwell Vs Republic of Sri Lanka (1978-79) 2.

SLR 194 court of appeal held that computer evidence (computer products) are not admissible to the case according to section 31 of the evidence ordinance.

  1. Soft Systems (Pvt) Ltd Vs Visual Tech Microsystems (Pvt) Ltd (Hc/Civil/08/2001(3)).

Case Commercial High Court in Sri Lanka held that computer software are fully covered by the intellectual Property Act. Therefore, court issued an enjoining order against Defendant Company to prevent infringement of software rights of Plaintiff Company.

  1. According to, Seven Seas Computer Lanka (Pvt) Ltd Vs Q Soft (Pvt) Ltd and 22 others (Hc/civil/18/2001(3)).

The Commercial High Court held that the computer software are protected by the Copy Right Law and also fully covered by provisions of intellectual Property Act. Therefore Court issued an enjoining order against Defendant Company. Foreign case law

  1. Westgarth Vs Jeson (2002) EWC A Crime 683.

In this case accused obtained obscene pictures from the internet. The Court convicted accused due to commit computer crimes.

  1. R Vs Wood (1982) 76 Criminal Appeal Reports 39.

In this case, Court of Appeal held that analysis sheet for chemicals which was obtained by Computer is relevancy under the common law and the print out is not hearsay evidence. In a recent judgment, Court of Justice of European Union has stated that a person has right to instruct the internet search engines like Google to keep certain personal information of individuals as secret. The Hon. Court stated that to view all the details available on internet, may be dangerous may a times, therefore, a person has the right to instruct the search engines to keep certain personal information as secret, and not accessible. This ruling provides a level of protection against invasion of privacy. Case law

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Drawbacks and Solutions. Computer crimes in internet can’t be limited to one country or one region. We have to work together to combat computer crimes. Adopting latest technologies will heavily contribute to the economic advancement. But a major problem is the computer crimes in internet. Sri Lanka formulated new laws for combating computer crimes in internet. Although these laws need to be aligned with international standards. Nowadays most of the countries work together through computer crime convention to strengthen and harmonize legislation on these crimes. We hope that Sri Lanka too will be a partner of this international convention in the nearly future. It is important for countries to know, how to enhance capabilities on cooperation among countries to mitigate computer crimes in internet. We need to educate investigators, prosecutors and judges on computer crimes in internet. Sri Lanka has enacted laws on this area. "We need to have a comprehensive legal framework to detecting computer crimes. Countries need to have agreements for legal assistance for computer crimes. The investigation of computer crimes in internet is difficult without the assistance of internet service providers. It is necessary to Sri Lanka is in a position to co-operate internationally in an efficient manner. The convention on computer crimes of the council of Europe provides a framework for international cooperation that may also be a benefit to Sri Lanka. Develop and implement legislative or other measures to ensure to Sri Lanka meets the adequacy levels required by the EU Directive on Data Protection & promote institutional development for data protection and private issues. This would help to ensure to Sri Lanka complies with required legal standards for the development of the IT Enabled Services sector and the BPO sector.


The fundamental issue in most computer crime in internet is the criminal lack of respect for the property and privacy of other people. I hope this society will recognize the seriousness of the computer crime in internet & demand more severe punishment for such criminals. The societies depend on computer networks, the evolution of technology, the reality of law enforcement and the evolution of the existing computer crime underline the necessity of specialised computer crime units. Special computer crime units will not be able to handle all offences against or by means of computer systems or the analysis of electronic devices related to any crime on their own. Human mind is impossible to understand. So, that is not possible to eliminate computer crime from cyber space. That is quite possible to check them. History is the witness that no legislation has succeeded in totally eliminating crime from the global. The one and only possible step is to make people aware of their rights & duties & making the application of the laws more severe to check crime. Further I do not refuse that there is a need to bring changes in the Information Technology Act to make it more effective to combat computer crime. Computer crime by nature is multi-jurisdictional & not confined to a country & those Governments can’t enforce it in isolation. The transnational nature of computer crime activities, as well as concerns to avoid the proliferation of jurisdictional havens, has driven harmonisation initiatives within a number of international fora, including the Council of Europe, the British Commonwealth & the European Union. Sri Lanka is fully supportive of the approach taken by the Council of Europe & is positively looking at options to accede to the convention. Preliminary steps have already been initiated by the Government in this connection.

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The Computer Crime Act of Sri Lanka. (2017, Jun 26). Retrieved October 1, 2023 , from

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