Stalking
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This article is written by Gursimran Kaur Bakshi, a student at the National University of Study and Research in Law, Ranchi. This article explains to you in-depth what amounts to stalking, when you should report it, and to whom you should report it. 

Table of Contents

Introduction

Eve-teasing idealistically should not be associated with gender because anyone can become a victim of it. Unfortunately, the Indian criminal system does associate it with gender. Eve-teasing, in simple terms, means, following someone for no legitimate reason, threatening that person by words, gesture, using force, on the streets, workplace, school, college, on the internet to name a few. 

There is technically no justification for eve-teasing except that it may give the person some kind of sadistic pleasure. 

Victims of eve-teasing know the gravity of this offence. They know that eve-teasing or ‘stalking’ is a crime and that the person committing it should be punished. But they probably do not know or rather they do not want to accept the fact that crime is not always easy to report. This could be the case despite the fact that the person is acquainted with the law. This is primarily because it is traumatising not just to physical health but to mental health as well. It forces a person to develop some kind of anxiety and inability to feel safe in using public transportation, travelling alone, and almost in all those places where there is a crowd. 

It is indeed braver on someone’s part to report the crime, but more than anything, it is now necessary to report it to the right authority and at the right time. In India, a woman is stalked every 55 minutes. Thus, it is one of the biggest reasons why women in India do not feel safe in public. Many of them have lost lives with no fault of theirs. It should have also been the reason why even men and persons of other sexual orientation and gender identity could not feel safe too. But unfortunately, India has not progressed enough to accept this fact.

This article is divided into various parts. It will discuss the background of stalking as an offence. Then, it will discuss the step-by-step procedure on how you can report a case of stalking. Lastly, the laws relating to stalking are discussed with case laws. 

To know more about the scope of what to do when someone is stalking you in brief, please refer to the video below:

Stalking as an offence under the Indian Penal Code, 1860 

This section of the article discusses the definition of stalking, the reasons to recognise it as an offence, and the Criminal (Amendment), Act, 2019.

A brief definition of stalking 

Stalking in layman terms means following a woman physically or through online modes (cyberstalking). The motive is to follow a woman without her consent to establish unwanted contact with her. It was not an offence until the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013. It was suggested as an offence under Section 354D of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 (‘IPC’) by the J.S. Verma Committee. The committee was constituted post the infamous Delhi (Nirbhaya) gang rape.

Reasons to recognise stalking as an offence 

On December 23, 2012, the J.S Verma Committee was constituted with former Justice JS Verma as the chairman, Justice Leila Seth, and Senior Advocate Gopal Subramaniam as its other members. The committee was supposed to suggest changes in the criminal justice system for quicker trials and enhanced punishment for criminals committing sexual assault of extreme nature against women. The committee submitted its report on January 23, 2013. 

By the very definition under Section 354D, stalking is considered one of the most serious nature of offences against women. However, the criminal code recognises stalking only against women. Unfortunately, the current law on stalking is not gender-neutral yet. Other legislation under which the offence of stalking can be punished is the Information Technology Act, 2000 (‘IT Act’) and the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013. The legislation does not make the offence gender-neutral, but at least helps in broadening the ambit of the offence of cyberstalking and other types of ancillary offences committed with it. 

About the Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill, 2019

On the point of the recognition of the offence of stalking as gender-neutral, the senior advocate and the former member of Rajya Sabha, K.T.S Tulsi suggested through the Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill, 2019 to make sexual offences gender-neutral. But the bill was not passed. The same was argued through various petitions before the Supreme Court. However, the court refused to entertain these petitions citing the lack of jurisdiction

Two broad categories of stalking 

Stalking is divided into physical and cyberstalking. Both forms are mentioned under Section 354D. Both forms have been explained below. 

Physical stalking under Section 354D(1)(i)

The ingredients of physical stalking under Section 354D(1)(i) are, first, that the offence must be committed by a man against a woman. Stalking is committed in person when (1) a woman is being followed and contacted by a man, or (2) the man tries to contact her, (3) to foster personal interaction repeatedly, (4) despite her clear indication of disinterest. However, the conduct of a man in any of the forms as mentioned above, shall not be an offence under this Section, if,

Exceptions

  • One: (1)The man is entrusted with the responsibility by the state, (2) to prevent and detect crime, (3) and the conduct pursued by the man was in furtherance of the same.   
  • Two: (1)The person’s conduct was pursued under any law, (2) or to comply with the requirements of any law.
  • Three: The conduct, in that particular circumstances, was justified and reasonable. 

Although this Section has been explained here in simple terms, we could understand it further with the help of certain examples to attain better clarity. But before we venture into that, it’s important to mention here that the definition of ‘Man’ and ‘Woman’ is defined under Section 10 of the IPC as, a male human being of any age and a female human being of any age respectively. This essentially means that a male and a female of any age can be accommodated under this Section. The Section intentionally uses generic terms and thus, has the scope to include third-gender who are neither male nor female. The rights of transpersons were recognised in the National Legal Service Authority v. Union of India (2014).

Examples of stalking

  • Instance 1: If A, a schoolboy of 17 years old, follows a girl B from school to her house, to contact her despite her disinterest. This amounts to stalking under the Section.
  • Instance 2: In the above case, instead of following B to her house, A tries to contact her at school or anywhere else, despite her disinterest, this shall still amount to stalking. 

Examples where it shall not amount to stalking 

  • Instance 1: Now, let’s just assume that A was a police officer, who was under a duty to follow B, to investigate a case relating to the commission of a certain offence or to catch someone who has been stalking B. In these cases, it shall not amount to stalking. It is because a police officer is entrusted with a duty to prevent and detect crime and thus, he is covered under the exceptions. 
  • Instance 2: If A was stalking B because he thought B was about to be attacked by someone, or that she was being followed, or that her life was under threat. In these circumstances, it would be reasonable and justified on the part of A to follow B. 

Procedure to report a case of stalking

Now, let’s understand the procedure, step by step, on how to approach the concerned authority to report a case of stalking. It needs to be stated that often these crimes go unreported because women are not aware of how to seek the right remedy and from whom to seek it. That is why the laws have been mentioned in simple terms and the procedure has also been provided to enable the victims to approach the concerned authority and seek the right remedy. 

What to do if stalking takes place physically 

  • Understand and recognise the right laws and the Sections. For stalking, please have a look at Section 354D(1)(i) of the Indian Penal Code, 1860. 
  • Now determine whether any of the acts that have happened to you, fall within the category of Section 354D(1)(i) or under Section 354D(1)(i) along with other Sections, to understand what all sections will be applicable. 

For instance, are you just being stalked? Or are you being stalked and sexually harassed? 

  • Once you find out what all Sections will be applicable, look for whether that section is cognizable or non-cognizable. Cognizable offences are serious offences and the police can arrest the culprit without the approval of a court. Whereas, in the other cases, the police need an arrest warrant. 
  • As it has been mentioned above, stalking is a cognizable offence which means that the victim needs to inform the police that she is being stalked. The police can then take a suo moto cognizance (can acknowledge that the crime has been committed without the intervention of the court).
  • Now, as the police have the power to start an investigation for an offence of stalking without the permission of the court, visit the nearest police station and inform the concerned police officer that you are being chased or stalked by person X and that you want to lodge a First Information Report (FIR). 

FIR allows the police to officially start an investigation into the crime that has been committed. 

In case, where you are not present in your domiciled state, a zero FIR can also be lodged at any of the nearest police stations. It can later be transferred to the police station in your jurisdiction of the state. 

A zero FIR helps you to lodge an FIR in any police station.

What to do if cyberstalking takes place

  • If you are a victim of cyberstalking, it is important to first understand that the origin of this crime lies in Section 354D(1)(ii) only. 
  • Follow the basic steps first, such as understanding that you are being stalked on the internet, by someone through any of the modes such as through social media platforms, mails, or any kind of electronic communication.  
  • Once you are sure that you are being stalked, you can file a cybercrime complaint online through the website of the nearest cyber police station/cyber cell. 
  • You can file an online complaint at the National Cyber Crime Reporting Portal under the Ministry of Home Affairs: https://cybervolunteer.mha.gov.in/. The helpline number for Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand, and Chattisgarh is 155260 (24×7).
  • Also, every state has its cybercrime reporting portal such as this of Uttar Pradesh along with the helpline numbers: https://uppolice.gov.in/article/en/cyber-crime.  
  • All states do have a cyber police station or a separate cyber cell in the police station to deal with cybercrimes. If you are unable to file a complaint online, it is better to register an FIR in the nearest cyber cell. 
  • If you are unable to do any of it, simply visit a police station and they will guide you on how to go about it. Or consult your lawyer for the same.

What to do in case the police refuse to register your FIR?

There are other remedies available in case the police refuse to register an FIR, which they do in high profile cases or simply to intimidate the complainant. In such cases, please refer to Section 154(3) which allows you to write a complaint to the superintendent of the police. You can also file an application under Section 156(3) to the Magistrate. The Magistrate can then order the police to register an FIR. 

In case you do not wish to first register an FIR, you can go to the Magistrate under Section 190, where a Magistrate (judicial officer) of the first class or the second class can take cognizance of your case, upon receiving a complaint of facts. Once the facts of the case come to the notice of the Magistrate, he is empowered to either direct a police officer to initiate an investigation or can start an investigation in the case himself. 

Sample complaint to report a case of stalking to the Magistrate 

As mentioned above, there could be instances where the police may refuse to register an FIR. In those cases, it is important to remember that there are alternative ways available. The best way would be to approach the nearest Magistrate to register a complaint on stalking. Carry with yourself the complaint you have written to the police officer if any. The Magistrate will examine the complaint with the complainant on oath under Section 200 and he may direct the police officer to initiate an investigation under Section 156(3) or he can inquire into the case himself. 

Here is how a complaint to the Magistrate can be drafted:

IN THE COURT OF THE CHIEF METROPOLITAN MAGISTRATE AT _________

COMPLAINT CASE NO. __________ OF 2021

 

(Affix Court Fee stamp of Rs. ___)

IN THE MATTER OF:

 

Name of the Complainant___                                                                 

COMPLAINANT

ADDRESS _________________

vs

Name of the Accused___

                                                                                        ACCUSED

ADDRESS _________________

 

Police Station(nearest to your residence) _________

 

COMPLAINT UNDER SECTION 200 READ WITH SECTION 156(3) OF THE CODE OF CRIMINAL PROCEDURE FOR REGISTRATION OF FIR UNDER SECTION 354D OF INDIAN PENAL CODE

 

THE COMPLAINANT ABOVE NAMED MOST RESPECTFULLY SHOWETH:

  1. That the complainant is a law-abiding citizen of India. The Complainant is a resident of ____ (full address).
  2. The respondent (accused)named above is the _____(mention the relation, if any, with the complainant)of the Complainant. 
  3. That the accused has been following the complainant ________(narrate the incident and mention the details of how the accused has been stalking the complainant).
  4. That again on _____(mention other instances where the accused has stalked the complainant).
  5. That the complainant went to the Police station at ____ to report the matter, but the police refused to lodge a First Information Report. The copy of the complaint given to the police officer is attached herewith as Annexure I.
  6. That the complainant when written the same complaint to the Superintendent of Police by sending the complaint in writing and by post. No action was pursued on that complaint as well. A copy of the complaint sent to the Superintendent of Police has been attached herewith as Annexure-II. 
  7. Despite the attempts to initiate legal action, the complainant has been unable to do so and now requests legal action against the accused.

P R A Y E R

In the light of the above-mentioned facts, it is respectfully prayed that the court may be pleased to:

  1. Take cognizance of the complaint
  2. Take cognizance of the offence
  3. Initiate an investigation into the offence 

 

Pass any such order as it may deem fit for the interest of justice. 

 

AND FOR THIS ACT OF KINDNESS, THE HUMBLE APPLICANT AS IN DUTY BOUND, SHALL EVER PRAY.

COMPLAINANT

THROUGH

(Name)ADVOCATE

Place:

Date:

ATTACHED HEREWITH ARE ANNEXURES I & II

Other ways to approach help when you are being stalked

An integrated emergency response support system of the government 

While you are being stalked, it is advisable to call a helpline that is located in your state. There is an integrated Emergency Response Support System with helpline number 112. It is designed to receive all emergency signals from citizens through voice calls, emails, panic SOS signals, or a complaint through the system’s portal. The system can be used by installing an App on mobile called ‘112 India’. Since the App has been introduced by the government of India, it is available throughout the states and Union Territories. 

Further, there is an Integrated Women Helpline number ‘1091’ which is available in all parts of India. Almost all states also have their individual helpline numbers available on their website. A simple google search can help you in this case. 

A complaint can also be filed at the National Women Commission 

A complaint can also be registered in writing or through the website of the National Women Commission. The Commission has the power to initiate an investigation with the Police and can even constitute an inquiry committee for the investigation of a serious offence. The Commission has been established under the National Commission for Women Act, 1990

Under Section 10 of the Act, the commission can investigate all matters under the Indian Constitution and other legislation relating to women rights, take suo moto cognizance over the same, and take up the cases where the women have been deprived of their rights leading to the violation of various laws. The procedure to file a complaint is easy and there is nothing to worry about issues like you do not know the law. 

Here are the steps to register a complaint at the National Women Commission:

  • Click on the option ‘register complaint’ and you will see a set of instructions, where the mandate of the commission is mentioned. This includes the instructions like that the Commission can only hear complaints that are genuine and within the ambit of the 1990 Act. 
  • Once you click on register complaint and read the instructions, there will be another option as ‘register complaint form’. Click on that option and you will see a form that is divided into two parts. Part I is about the details of the complainant and Part II is about the respondent. 
  • Fill in the details of Part I, where you will have to mention your details like name, address, email, mobile number etc. For the part of the respondent, which is Part II, you are only required to know his name, address, district, and state. There is a box where you will have to mention the whole incident (commission of the offence) in detail. 
  • It is important to know that anyone can register a complaint and it does not have to be the complainant only. There is an option that mentions that, if you are not a complainant, then first, mention the details of the complainant, then mention your details, the details of the respondent, and the incident. 
  • Once you are done with it, submit the form and you will be given a file number. You can track your complaint on the website. If you still have any further queries, please refer to the frequently asked questions section.

How to report a case of stalking and sexual harassment at the workplace

All public and private employers are supposed to establish an internal complaints committee(‘ICC’) to hear cases of sexual harassment at the workplace. Any aggrieved woman can make a complaint of sexual harassment at the workplace in writing to the internal committee. But the complaint has to be filed within a period of three months from the incident. Although such restrictions on the time period are not welcome, unfortunately, this is the case here.

If you are a victim of stalking and sexual harassment at your workplace and has been unable to approach the ICC, a complaint can also be filed through the SHe-Box Online Complaint Management System of the NCW.

Laws on stalking explained in detail  

Aggravated form of physical stalking

Stalking may often be accompanied by other subsequent criminal acts which may or may not make it an aggravated form of physical stalking. Since it can be accompanied by so many different offences, we have tried to cover those offences that are most frequently occurring. Let’s discuss that one by one. 

Stalking and use of words, gestures, or acts intended to insult the modesty of a woman under Section 509 of IPC

One of the most common examples where the offence of stalking takes place is along with insulting the modesty of the women by way of words, gestures, or acts is eve-teasing. One of the incidents where both Sections were applicable was when a girl was chased by a group of men as she was on her way home from college. They tried to chase and grab her, due to which she lost balance and fell on the road sustaining an injury and eventually died. Such similar incidents happen on a day to day basis now, where women are followed, eve-teased, assaulted and abused on streets for no reason. These kinds of incidents fall within the purview of Section 509 r/w Section 354D(1)(i). Section 509 can also be applied in case of cyberstalking

Stalking and assault or use criminal force on a woman with intent to outrage her modesty under Section 354 of IPC

An example where stalking takes place is to assault or use criminal force against a woman to outrage her modesty. It happens when a man follows a woman, first to establish unwanted contact and subsequently pulls her close, or slaps her posterior, or tries to remove her clothes, or asks for some kind of sexual favour. 

All these acts independently would fall within the ambit of Section 354D(1)(i) r/w Section 354 of the IPC. The IPC does not define a set of acts that would specifically amount to outraging the modesty of the woman and thus, the liability shall depend on case to case basis. 

Stalking and assault or use criminal forces on a woman with intent to disrobe under Section 354B of IPC

It is important to understand the difference between outraging the modesty of a woman and intentionally disrobing her. The latter is attracted in the case of stalking when the man tries to remove her clothes or compels her to be naked, by assaulting her or using criminal force on her. Even when a man tries to remove her clothes or tries to compel her to remove her clothes but he is ultimately unsuccessful, he shall still be liable under Section 354B r/w 354D(1)(i).

For instance, A, a boy stalks a school girl B, and tries to remove her shirt or forces her to remove the same, he shall be punished for stalking and using criminal force to disrobe B.

Stalking and sexually harassing a woman under Section 354A of IPC

This is another case of eve-teasing where unwanted physical contact is established first and then, advances involving unwelcoming and explicit sexual overtures, demands or requests of sexual favour, showing pornography against her will, making sexually coloured remarks is accompanied with it. All these acts along with stalking shall be punishable under Section 354A with 354D(1)(i). 

For instance, if A, a male, tries to follow B, on his bike and chases her while making sexually lewd remarks such as about her private body parts, or requests her to kiss him or touch him. A is liable for stalking and sexually harassing a woman.

Stalking and sexually harassing a woman at the workplace under the prohibition of sexual harassment at workplace act, 2013 

Stalking can also occur at the workplace. For instance, someone is stalking you from let’s say your home to your workplace and that person happens to be your colleague. To tackle this situation, the 2013 act has been enacted. The act was enacted based on the guidelines of the Supreme Court in Vishaka v. State of Rajasthan (1997).

The act generally deals with sexual harassment at the workplace which includes making lewd or sexually coloured remarks, asking for sexual favours, any other unwelcome physical, verbal or non-verbal conduct of sexual nature as mentioned under Section 2(n).

Stalking to commit Voyeurism under Section 354C

Voyeurism in simple terms means infringing the privacy of a woman by capturing, transmitting, recording, or publishing an act that is considered private. An act is private under Section 354C when an act of watching is carried out in a place where a reasonable expectation of providing privacy exists. 

If a woman is stalked by a man and thereby he records her actions, where her genitals, posteriors, or breasts are exposed or covered in minimal clothes, or where she is engaged in a private sexual act or where she is using a lavatory(Toilet), then this would amount to voyeurism under Section 354C r/w 354D(1)(i). A person can also be punished for trespassing into a private property while committing Voyeurism if he follows the woman to her house. 

Punishment for physical stalking and aggravated form of physical stalking 

Sections 

Punishment

Nature of the offence

  1. Section 354D(1)(i)

First Conviction- Imprisonment up to 3 years and fine.

Second and subsequent conviction- Imprisonment up to 5 years and fine.

First Conviction- Cognizable-Bailable

Second Conviction- Cognizable-Non-Bailable

  1. Section 354D(1)(i) r/w 509

Same as above 

Same

  1. Section 354D(1)(i) r/w 354

Minimum imprisonment up to 1 year which may extend up to 5 years, and with a fine.

Cognizable- Non-Bailable

  1. Section 354D(1)(i) r/w 354B

Minimum imprisonment up to 3 years which may extend up to 7 years, and with a fine.

Cognizable-Non-Bailable

  1. Section 354D(1)(i) r/w 354A

Rigorous Imprisonment up to 3 years or fine or with both in sexual harassment of the nature of unwelcome physical contact or a demand or request for sexual favour, showing pornography.

Imprisonment up to 1 year or with fine or with both in sexual harassment of the nature of making sexually coloured remarks.

Both are Cognizable-Bailable 

  1. Section 354D(1)(i) r/w 354C

Minimum imprisonment of 1 year which may extend to 3 years with a fine for a first conviction. 

For the second and subsequent conviction, minimum imprisonment of 3 years may extend up to 7 years with a fine.

Cognizable and Bailable.

Cognizable and Non-Bailable for the second and subsequent conviction.

Cyberstalking under Section 354D(1)(ii) and aggravated forms of cyberstalking 

Stalking takes place online if a man monitors the use by a woman of the internet (1), email (2), or any other form of electronic communication (3). This is mentioned under Section 354D(2)(i).

Cyberstalking can be done in various ways. The simplest way of stalking a woman on the internet is following her on any social media platform. For instance, if, A, a boy tries to follow a girl on Facebook and keeps sending her friend requests, even though she is not accepting it or is not interested in accepting it, then this shall amount to stalking. 

Further, if A manages to send her messages, even if she has not accepted his Facebook request, this shall amount to stalking too. However, on the internet, stalking is often coupled with other forms of offences punishable under the IT Act.

Cyberstalking to send obscene materials under Section 292 of the IPC and Section 67 of the IT Act

This part simply deals with a case where a woman is first followed on the internet and is harassed by way of obscene materials, which might not be exactly sexually explicit but are vulgar. What is vulgar or obscene needs to be tested from the threshold of a reasonably prudent person. The person can be held liable under Section 292 for transmitting obscene materials and Section 67 of the IT Act along with Section 354D(1)(ii).

Cyberstalking to send sexually explicit materials in electronic form under Section 67A and 67B of the IT Act

This Section deals with two situations, one is where an adult woman of 18 years old and above is being harassed by a male, who has first stalked her online and is then sending sexually explicit materials containing pornography/nudes. 

Another situation is when similar things happen but with a child below the age of 18 years old. For those above the age of 18 years, Section 67A will be applicable and Section 67B would apply to minors along with Section 354D(1)(ii).

Cyberstalking to violate bodily privacy under Section 66E of the IT Act

Section 66E of the IT Act is similar to section 354C other than the difference that exists in the form of committing it. If voyeurism takes place physically along with stalking, then it is punishable under Section 354C and 354D(1)(ii) of IPC. However, if the same acts are committed through the internet, it is punishable under Section 354D(1)(i) along with Section 66E of the IT Act. Notably, the right to privacy became a facet of the right to life and personal liberty under Article 21 of the Indian Constitution in K.S Puttaswamy v. Union of India (2017).

Cyberstalking to cause criminal intimidation by anonymous communication under Section 507 of the IPC

Stalking a woman on the internet and trying to cause fear to her through anonymous communication is punishable under this section. For instance, A, a male, stalks B and induces fear in her to sell her property unless she wants her reputation to be ruined. This act will not only result in cyberstalking but would also make the person liable for causing criminal intimidation under Section 507 along with 354D(1)(i). The offence of criminal intimidation is not necessarily restricted to cyberstalking as it can happen in physical stalking as well. 

Punishment for cyberstalking

Sections 

Punishment

Nature of the offence

  1. Section 354D(1)(ii) with Section 292 of IPC and Section 67 of IT Act 

The minimum punishment for transmitting obscene content under Section 292 is imprisonment for 2 years, with a fine of 2,000 rupees.

However, Section 67 of the IT Act punishes a person with imprisonment of up to 3 years and a fine up to rupees 5L. 

Cognizable-Bailable under IPC

Cognizable-Non-Bailable under IT Act

  1. Section 354D(1)(ii) r/w 67A and 67B of the IT Act

Imprisonment up to 5 years and fine Rupees 10L on first conviction

Imprisonment up to 7 years and fine Rupees 10L on first conviction.

Cognizable-Non-Bailable

  1. Section 354D(1)(ii) r/w 66E IT Act

Imprisonment up to 3 years with a fine of Rupees 2L

Cognizable-Bailable

  1. Section 354D(1)(ii) r/w 507

Section 507 is a corollary of Section 506 which punishes a person for criminal intimidation. Imprisonment for 2 years in addition to the punishment up to 2 years, or fine, or both. 

In subsequent conviction, imprisonment for 7 years in addition to imprisonment up to 2 years, fine, or both. 

Non-cognizable-Bailable 

 

Cases on stalking 

In Arvind Kumar Gupta v. State (2018), a man was following a woman to her office and would stand next to her residence, whenever she came back for more than a year. He even tried to call her by her name sometimes, while she was heading to her offence. As this continued for some time, the woman asked her brother to confront him. When confronted, the man replied that the woman reminds her of someone and even though he might not be suitable, he still wants to marry her.

The woman decided to lodge an FIR and in the trial, the accused although categorically denied committing the offence failed to plead any defence. The prosecution on the other hand proved beyond reasonable doubt that the accused followed her consistently, and continued to do so even after being detested for doing the same. It was proved that the man was following her despite her apparent disinterest, to foster a personal relationship with her. The court awarded him a simple punishment for a year with a fine because he was a widower and a father of three minor children.

India’s first cyberstalking case happened in 2001 when a man was stalking a woman by illegally using her name to chat on an online website www.mirc.com. He used obscene language against her and even distributed her personal number online to invite people to chat with her. The woman started getting obscene calls and the Delhi Police wanted to register an FIR under section 509 but could not do so because the stalking happened through an online mode. Subsequently, the IT Act was amended in 2000 added Section 66A to prosecute online communication which was grossly offensive and can cause hatred and enmity. However, the Section was struck down in its entirety in Shreya Singhal v. UOI (2015) for unconstitutional vagueness and for sending down a chilling effect on Article 19(1)(a).

Conclusion

Eve-teasing a woman, or chasing her, or following her, or stalking her on social media has unfortunately become a daily phenomenon. It’s concerning that there seems to be a sense of normalcy attached to this crime since it happens every day and that women eventually become used to it. But this approach is highly wrong and needs to be changed. If you are a victim of stalking or you have been a victim of stalking, please make sure you know and acknowledge that this is a serious crime and any kind of ignorance may prove fatal. 

Lastly, it should be noted that If you are not reporting the offence to the concerned authority, then you are indirectly appreciating the person to repeat that offence with you or with anyone else. You might have had the guts to simply ignore the incident and move on, but the other female who is now a victim of that person’s stalking, might not be able to take it. Every single day, every single woman has witnessed stalking at least once in their lives. They know how traumatizing it is and the sense of fear it creates in the mind of the women. It is important to not adjust to the normalcy associated with this crime and make sure that you report it to the right authority the next time something like this happens to you. If not for yourself, then for all those women who have lost their precious lives because of this. 

References


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