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Stalking Laws in India, enshrined in Section 354D of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), have been a very debatable topic. Recently, the Supreme Court made a significant decision by quashing the conviction of a man accused of stalking and criminal intimidation. The basis for this decision was his marriage to the complainant during the appeal process. This case raises critical questions about the interplay between personal relationships and legal proceedings in stalking cases. It emphasizes the need to consider evolving circumstances, such as marriage, while upholding the intent and effectiveness of anti-stalking legislation in India

Background of Dasari Srikanth v. State of Telangana Case

Court’s Observations

  • Justices BR Gavai and Sandeep Mehta noted that the offences under Section 354D IPC and Section 506 IPC are personal to the complainant and the accused-appellant.
  • The fact that they married during the appeal suggests an existing relationship, even when the alleged offences occurred.

Understanding Stalking

  • Stalking involves persistent following or attempting to communicate privately with someone, causing fear or distress.
  • Under IPC, stalking refers to deliberately and persistently following or contacting another person without their consent, intending to cause fear or discomfort.

Stalking in IPC (Indian Penal Code)

  • Section 354D IPC defines stalking and outlines actions that constitute stalking:
    • Following a woman in person, trailing her, or closely monitoring her activities.
    • Repeatedly trying to establish contact with the woman through phone calls, messages, or other communication.
  • The legal provision acknowledges exceptions, such as pursuing stalking for crime prevention or complying with legal requirements.

New Legal Provision

Conclusion

The Dasari Srikanth case highlights the complexities of applying stalking laws in situations where the relationship between the accused and the victim changes during legal proceedings. While the Supreme Court’s decision to quash the conviction due to the subsequent marriage acknowledges the evolving nature of personal relationships, it raises concerns about the potential for misuse and the need for clear guidelines.


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