This article is written by Aashank Dwivedi, a student of Amity University Lucknow. This article elucidates Section 354D of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 i.e., stalking. This will help you to provide a key understanding of Section 354D of the Indian Penal Code, 1860.

It has been published by Rachit Garg.


As the definition of crime varies from society to society, there are many different forms of crime that have been emerged in society with the advent of time. The Indian Penal Code, 1860 essentially looks at Actus Reus and Mens Rea to punish someone for the act of the crime. In most cases, stalking generally refers to a person being followed either physically or online without the permission of the person. The Indian Penal makes stalking as an offence but it is only punishable when it is committed against women. Stalking, in its broadest sense, refers to the behaviour that involves following someone or attempting to communicate privately with them in order to make them feel uneasy or scared. There are several methods to commit stalking, including sending threatening texts, following someone on the street or through social media, making persistent phone calls, or engaging in other harassing behaviour. Stalking is typically committed against women and ultimately causes harm to them. This article will give an overview of Section 354D and other necessary components of stalking.  

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What crime is defined under Section 354D IPC 

Stalking as defined under the Section 354D IPC occurs when man repeatedly approaches a woman for the personal connections, even after the lady has made it obvious that she is not interested in getting to know him. This also covers online stalking as well which means monitoring her usage of internet, email or other types of electronic communications. 

There are further exceptions to it, they are as follows: 

  1. If a man pursued a woman as a part of his responsibility to a state to detect the crime or prevent it from happening. 
  2. To follow any instructions or rules issued by a person with the legal authority.
  3. Any other circumstances that would allow his actions to be defended as reasonable. 

In accordance with this section, the punishment which is prescribed for stalking is three years simple or grievous imprisonment and fine for the first offence and a subsequent offence has sentence of five years of imprisonment and fine.

Essentials of stalking under Section 354D IPC

The following elements are required for the stalking offence to be considered a violation of Section 354D of the IPC

  1. It must be committed by any man.
  2. The following man tried to contact any woman against her interest.
  3. The act of the man creates a certain repeatedness. 
  4. There should be an absence of interest against the part of the woman. 

Modes of Stalking

There is no one style that constitutes stalking as a crime, but rather a myriad of possibilities and techniques, some of which are as follows:

  1. Tracking the girl;
  2. Sending offensive messages;
  3. Coercive attempt to communicate;
  4. Taking her pictures without her consent;
  5. physical assault, sexual assault threats, and threats of physical violence;
  6. standing outside the house while making an unnecessary visit; 
  7. Using Social media and other apps used for stalking. 

Types of Stalker

  1. Rejected stalker

Some stalkers have just gone through a breakup or have been rejected by someone they wanted to be in a relationship with. The stalker can be trying to patch up their relationship or just want to hang around the victim as much as they can. In other cases, they are enraged and seek retaliation after being rejected.

  1. Resentful Stalker

Some individuals turn to stalking because they believe they have been wronged in some way. These stalkers frequently suffer from a mental illness, feel paranoid or persecuted, and may exhibit self-righteousness and self-pity. One strategy for exacting retribution for the victim’s alleged mistreatment is to stalk them. As they follow the victim, they believe they have some control over them.

  1. Heroic stalker

Those who want to have a romantic relationship with the victim or engage in other forms of closeness with her and who think they may win her love by doing so.

  1. Predatory stalker

Predators frequently have aberrant sexual fantasies or are sexually fixated. Mostly male, these stalkers target women who are strangers to them but who they have feelings for. Voyeurism can be the beginning, which sets the stage for a sexual assault.

  1. Incompetent stalker

These stalkers tend to be unsuccessful in romantic relationships, lonely, and prey on total strangers or passing acquaintances. They erroneously believe they may persuade the target of their desire to begin dating them. They frequently appear to be unaware of or unconcerned about the misery they cause the victim. The social skills of many of these stalkers are lacking.

  1. Intimacy seeker

The intimacy-seeking stalker, who is frequently mentally ill, thinks the victim will love them or eventually learn to love them, and they might even have a hallucination that the victim already loves them. They frequently concentrate on well-known or well-known personalities.

  1. Hitman

The most hazardous victims are those who are being followed by a hired murderer with the intent to kill or seriously hurt them.

Punishment for stalking under Section 354D IPC 

Section 354D, specifies the punishment for stalking. It includes the punishment, which is that, for a primary conviction, anyone convicted of stalking faces a sentence of imprisonment of either description for a term that may not exceed three years and must pay the fine liability. For a secondary conviction, an accused person faces a sentence of imprisonment of either description for a term that may not exceed five years as well as the fine.

In the 1995 case of Rupan Deol Bajaj v. Kanwar Pal Singh Gill, the Supreme Court plainly instructed the Magistrate to consider the complaint under Sections 354 and 509.

Important case laws on stalking

In the case of Shri Deu Baju Bodake v. The State of Maharashtra, (2016), the Bombay High court investigated a case involving the death of women and after discovering it was found that the cause of her death was ongoing harassment and stalking by the offender. She was the target of the accused’s harassment and stalking while she was at work and despite her resistance and lack of interest. The High Court held it important to record Section 354D coupled with abetment to suicide to punish the guilty.   

Recently the single judge bench of  Madhya Pradesh High court while refusing the Bail application to the 18 years old boy held that some crimes result in financial benefit, while others result in psychic gain. The petitioner, in this instance, pursued and stalked the deceased, a 16-year-old girl, for the purpose of gaining mental benefits and satanic delight. In addition to causing severe embarrassment and harassment to any female, stalking, voyeurism, and following her also erode her self-esteem. This is especially true in feudalistic societies where the perpetrator of such crimes views his actions as a trophy and tries to send the message to the community that he can capture his victim at will.[11]

Santosh Kumar Singh v. State Through CBI (2010), where Priyadarshini Mattoo, a 25-year-old law student, was stalked, raped, and killed at her house in New Delhi, was one of the most perplexing cases that triggered clause 354D. The senior student at the Delhi campus law centre, Mr. Santosh Singh, the son of a former IPS officer, had repeatedly stalked and tormented the third-year law student. He was the subject of numerous complaints for stalking, harassing, threatening, and making lewd demands of her. The culprit was apprehended on a bail bond after an FIR under Section 354 was filed at the Maurice Nagar Police Station. Due to the seriousness of the situation, a complaint was made to the university’s dean, who asked the accused to refrain from engaging in such behaviour and assigned personal protection to the victim.

He attacked the woman on January 23, 1996, while she was home alone due to reaching a court settlement. Then he raped her, struck her 14 times with his helmet, and strangled her to death with a wire. Due to the fabrication of evidence by the CBI and the fact that evidence was not gathered in accordance with legal processes, the matter was taken up by the trial court, which granted the accused the benefit of the doubt. The accused was given the death penalty when the case came before the High Court, but the Supreme Court eventually commuted that punishment to life imprisonment. 

In the case of  Inspector General of Police v. S. Samuthiram, (2012), the Court talked on how important it is to address the complaints of victims and onlookers of evening taunting in public settings like transit, schools, theatres, etc.

In the case of Kalandi Charan Lenka v. State of Orissa, (2017), the informant is a student who attends Pattamundai’s Women’s College. Her father is said to have three children, the first of whom is a girl with mental retardation, and the second of whom is the informant. The victim girl came in with a claim about her persona while looking for indecent remarks at school. Prior to this, the informant’s father’s phone had also received pornographic messages that affected his character from an unidentified mobile number. After receiving the message, her father expressed regret and informed the informant-victim of the situation. The High Court ruled that the accused was sexual harassed prima facie liable, hence the motion for bail was also denied.


In India, men and women alike are stalked on a regular basis, including working professionals, students, housewives, and numerous women. Furthermore stalking and harassment are not considered significant crimes, many women and girls refrain from leaving their homes out of fear of being followed. An important part of creating a framework for provisions for women has been the Indian Penal Code. The code aims to address all offences committed against women of all ages.

The fact that many eyewitnesses overlook it and that most stalking incidents go unreported that is why the crime is rarely treated seriously, despite the fact that it is punishable. Women do not want to compromise their freedom of movement. A change can be made if people are informed and trained in how to respond when they are being followed or use Section 354D to report the crime, register a FIR, and contact the appropriate authorities.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) 

What does Section 354D of IPC is related?

Section 354D of the IPC is related to Stalking

What kind of offence it will be of stalking upon first conviction?

It will be the cognizble and bailable offence. 

What would not amount to stalking within Section 354D of IPC even if the man pursued her?

It would not amount to stalking if a man pursued a woman for preventing or detecting any crime by person entrusted with the responsiiblity of prevention and detention of crime. 

What is the maximum punishment for the offence of Stalking?

The penalty for stalking is imprisonment of either description for a term that may not exceed three years on the first conviction, and for successive convictions, imprisonment of either description for a time that may not exceed five years, as well as a fine.


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