Following someone stealthily is called stalking. Generally, the women are a victim of Stalking which has been criminalised by the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013. This act is also known as anti-rape act. This Act aimed to amend the prevailing law related to sexual offences in India. The act is a result of the Delhi gang-rape case where the victim “Nirbhaya” was brutally raped in a private bus while travelling with her male friend. The incident shook the whole nation and people condemned the incident as well as the government through public protests. Although the victim succumbed to her injuries, it was because of her that this anti-rape act was passed. This act is a result of recommendation from Justice Verma Committee. Stalking is defined under IPC after amendment. Earlier it was not mentioned as an offence under IPC. According to the definition, stalking means to follow a person and interacting or trying to interact personally in spite of clear disinterest shown by the person. The offence of stalking is gender specific and is considered as a crime against women. The inspiration of definition of ‘Stalking’ is taken from Section 2A of the Protection from Harassment Act, 1997 passed by the British Parliament. Stalking can be both physical as well as by way of electronic media. A person can face imprisonment for a term up to 3 years and fine on first conviction and up to 5 years and fine for subsequent conviction.
Cause of Action:
A woman can take action against stalking if:
- A man is following her and trying to contact her to advance personal interaction despite clear indication from her that she is not interested.
- He tries to track her electronic communications. An example of this could be monitoring the email of a woman.
A person cannot be made liable for the offence of stalking if:
- The person is given the responsibility by the state authorities to prevent and/or detect crime and he is pursuing the woman because of the functions that he has been entrusted with.
- He proves that he was obligated under law or that he was abiding by the responsibility entrusted to him by a person under law.
- He proves that his act was reasonable and legitimate under given circumstances.
Remedies in Law:
Section 354D of the IPC defines stalking, exceptions, and punishment for the offence.
Procedure for filing a Complaint:
The victim can file a complaint online against stalking on the website of national commission for women:
Details to be mentioned:
- Details of the complainant which includes name, address, email address, phone number and sex of the complainant.
- If the complainant is not the victim, then details of victim are to be given.
- Details of respondent i.e. the person against whom complaint is to be filed.
- Details of complaint which includes category of complaint, department of complaint (if applicable) and date of incident.
- Complete details of the incident are also to be given.
- It is also to be mentioned that whether any case related to this incident is pending before any court or not.