A special court acquitted a man who was booked for stalking a 16-year-old girl in 2016. The court noted that a single incident of holding the hand and expressing feelings for her is not sufficient to constitute an offence of stalking under Indian Penal Code.
The bench noted that there is no evidence that the man had repeatedly tried to follow or contact her.
“Single incident of talking with the victim by the accused, inviting her to accompany her for ice cream or meal and expressing his feeling about her, proposing to her for marriage is not sufficient to attract the offence under Sec 354(D) of the Indian Penal Code,” the court said.
To constitute that offence, it needs to be established that he repeatedly tried to contact her despite a clear indication of disinterest by her, said the special judge Kalpana K. Patil.
33-year old man who is a tempo driver by profession was also booked under Section 354 (assault or criminal force on a woman intending to outrage her modesty). The girl knew him since childhood as he lives in the neighbourhood.
In the deposition before court, the girl had submitted that she was on her way to college and the man came from behind and held her hand, stating that he could drop her college. The girl refused him saying she would go on her own as her college is nearby.
She also refused his proposal to go with him for ice cream or a meal. He further said that she is beautiful and expressed his desire to marry her which she refused.
Special Judge Patil noted that mere allegation of holding hand cannot be said to be the use of criminal force. The court went on to say that conversation narrated by the girl cannot be considered to be with an intention to outrage her modesty. The complaint was filed by the mother of the victim.