Melroy and Gothard have defined stalking as the wilful, malicious, and repeated following or harassing of another person that threatens his or her safety. Stalking is an offence in India and punishable by law.
The types of stalkers that have been described are:
- classic erotomanic stalker who usually targets public figures,
- the non-domestic stalker who comes to know the victim through social contact or a casual meeting in a public place, and
- the domestic stalker who stalks after a real relationship with the victim has fallen apart.
Sometimes stalking may be of a brief duration or of a long duration of many years. With the advancing of the Information Technology, Cyber Stalking has also increased and is a crime in India.
The best way to deal with stalkers is to report them. The girls and their families to file an FIR.
Stalking is the initial stage. The ultimate intention of the stalker could be molestation or rape.
HOW LAW IN INDIA PROTECTS AGAINST STALKING
Section 354D of the Indian Penal Code deals with stalking as a offence and provides for punishment.
Stalking takes place when any man who:
- follows a woman and contacts, or
- attempts to contact such woman to foster personal interaction repeatedly against the will of the women, or
- monitors the use by a woman of the internet, email or any other form of electronic communication.
Stalking is not committed if the man who pursued it proves that:
- It was pursued for the purpose of preventing or detecting crime and detection of crime by the State
- it was pursued under any law or to comply with any condition or requirement imposed by any person under any law; or
- in the particular circumstances such conduct was reasonable and justified.
Punishment for Stalking:
- on first conviction with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three years, and shall also be liable to fine;
- and be punished on a second or subsequent conviction, with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to five years, and shall also be liable to fine.
The Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013:
- The definition has been reworded and broken down into clauses.
- The offence is now no longer gender-neutral.
- Only a man can commit the offence on a woman.
- Punishment for the offence has been changed.
Indian law on cyber stalking: Indian information technology act (Amended) , 2008
- The Act does not deal directly address stalking but as an intrusion on to the privacy of individual than as regular cyber offences which are discussed in the IT Act 2008. Hence the most used provision for regulating cyber stalking in India is section 72 of the Indian information technology act.
- And also section 72A of the Information Technology Act,2000(amended in 2008) provides for punishment.
For Cyber Stalking, Imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years, or with a fine which may extend to five lakh rupees, or with both.
- If it has not resulted to serious offences like severe defamation, identity theft, sexual crimes or even grave crimes like terrorism and done only to annoy the victim, it shall be treated as a bailable offence.
Indian Penal Code:
Section 441 of the Indian Penal Code, which deals with offences, related to Criminal trespass join dots with stalking.
- 2012 Delhi gang rape incidence
This infamous incident has led to various changes in laws of sexual harassment against women. As far as stalking is concerned, it has resulted in The Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013 which has amended Section 154 of IPC.
- A woman of 21 years was stabbed to death in broad daylight by a man who had been stalking her for months, in September 2016, in Delhi.
- A woman of 34 years who beautician was brutally assaulted and stabbed to death by her stalker, in October the same year.
- Priyadarshini Matto case
Priyadarshni who was raped had several complaints of harassment, intimidation and stalking against the accused Santosh Kumar Singh. It was case where it can be rightly stated that Stalking is a step before sexual harassment.