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  • Aman Malik

What is Stalking and Stalking Laws in India?


It is a pattern of behavior directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to fear for the person’s safety or the safety of others; or suffer substantial emotional distress. Insane narcissism, anger, rage, retaliation, envy, obsession ,sexual deviance, internet addiction are only a few examples of the psychological triggers for stalking.


Modes if Stalking in India

  1. Clicking photographs

  2. Cyber-stalking through different social media platforms

  3. Following a woman

  4. Initiating a forceful conversation

  5. Threaten of sexual assault

  6. Sending unwanted messages

  7. Visited home for unnecessary purposes and stood outside home

  8. Abuse and harass parents and friends


Types of Stalkers

  • Rejected stalkers– those who follow someone in order to take revenge from them due to personal grudges such as divorce, separation, etc.

  • Resentful stalkers– those who stalk someone in order to distress the victim due to anger and past hatred.

  • Incompetent suitor – The one who is incompetent at relationships and targets strangers or casual acquaintances.

  • Predatory stalkers– those who follow the victims in order to make plans for the attack and sexual harassment on the victim.

  • Heroic Stalkers– those who wish to make love, relationship, intimacy, etc from victim and they believe to be that they can get love from girl if they follow her.

Cyber Stalking

Cyberstalking is a crime where the attacker harasses the victim by stalking him/her over the internet. Cyberstalking includes browsing someone’s online history with the help of social media and monitoring the activities of any person through the internet.


Impact of Stalking

The effects of stalking vary from victim to victim, but for many emotionally fragile victims, they are often severe and psychologically distressing. The majority of victims experience mental health disorders, which make them feel helpless, out of control, stressed, and anxious most of the time. They may also lose trust in others and experience long-lasting feelings from even close friends or family members, which can cause anxiety, bipolar disorders, and other conditions, as well as result in perpetual stress and anger. In the majority of cases, victims relocate, change professions, adopt secret phone numbers, and begin carrying guns or firearms in order to protect themselves.


The laws provided for Stalking in India

Under the Indian Penal Code, 1860, section 354D provides for the provision of stalking:


1. Any man who-

Follows a woman and contacts, or attempts to contact such woman to foster personal interaction repeatedly despite a clear indication of disinterest by such woman; or

(ii) monitors the use by a woman of the internet, email or any other form of electronic communication, commits the offence of stalking:

Provided that such conduct shall not amount to stalking if the man who pursued it proves that:

(i) it was pursued for the purpose of preventing or detecting crime and the man accused of stalking had been entrusted with the responsibility of prevention and detection of crime by the State; or

(ii) it was pursued under any law or to comply with any condition or requirement imposed by any person under any law; or

(iii) in the particular circumstances such conduct was reasonable and justified.

2. The punishment for the crime of stalking is imprisonment of either description for a term that may not exceed three years on the first conviction, as well as a fine; on a second or subsequent conviction, the punishment is imprisonment of either description for a term that may not exceed five years, as well as a fine.


Section 67 states:

Punishment for publishing or transmitting obscene material in electronic form. -Whoever publishes or transmits or causes to be published or transmitted in the electronic form, any material which is lascivious or appeals to the prurient interest or if its effect is such as to tend to deprave. Corrupt persons who are likely, having regard to all relevant circumstances, to read, see or hear the matter contained or embodied in it shall be punished on first conviction with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three years and with fine which may extend to five lakh rupees and in the event of second or subsequent conviction with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to five years and also with fine which may extend to ten lakh rupees.


Conclusion

In India, stalking is very common and can either be done physically or through electronic mediums in different modes as elaborated above, which constitutes to a criminal offence with an imprisonment of min. 3 years.


Every 55 minutes, a stalker incident is reported in India, yet no proper legal action is taken. With the existing regulations and processes, Indian residents, particularly women, anticipate a certain amount of safety, which these stalkers ignore. Regulations against stalking, which are still quite new, are still mostly unknown. To be able to deal and cope with such situations, people need to be aware of these restrictions. It aids them in navigating this issue. Such crimes against people, especially women, must end, and their significance must be acknowledged, if we are to create a society where the law is upheld.


A victim of stalking may endure insults and indignation over her modesty in addition to mental and physical violence. Inspite of stalking is covered under the IPC, cyberstalking is not mentioned there. The law must be updated to reflect the changes. It wouldn't serve any purpose otherwise.


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