Although stalking is frequently written off as simple, innocent behaviour, it can be frightening and upsetting for the victim. It is repeated and unwanted surveillance by a person or group towards another person; in a simpler sense, one can co-relate stalking to harassment and intimidation as the victim ultimately has to take the damage, relocate, change employment, and occasionally change their identity to escape the stalker.
"Let’s find out what acts are considered stalking, how many types of stalkers are there, how Indian Law copes with stalking and some examples that will help in understanding stalking even better".
Stalking is frequently equated with harassment and torture by someone passionately after another individual. Insane narcissism, anger, rage, retaliation, envy, obsession, psychiatric illness, power and control, sadomasochistic fantasies, sexual deviance, internet addiction, or religious fanaticism are just a few of the psychological factors that lead to stalking. Other crimes, including theft, kidnapping, home invasion, extortion, trespassing, acid attacks, etc., can result from stalking.
Modes of stalking in India
Following a woman
Cyberstalking through different social media apps
Initiating a forceful conversation
Threaten of sexual assault
Sending unwanted messages
Spreading fake rumours
Please spare a moment; ahead in this article; we have explained stalking with examples and laws in India that prescribe punishment for it. But for a detailed explanation, you know where to go, on our course.
Examples of stalking
Siddhu Moosewala – Recently, Punjab's popular singer and congress leader was stalked and murdered in 2022. The stalker had all the information regarding the travel plans of Siddhu Moosewala.
A movie named ‘Badrinath ki dulhaniya’ is a recent illustration. Varun Dhawan and Alia Bhatt both appear in the film. The protagonist of the film is a violent stalker who, despite the woman's repeated rejections, stalks, threatens, and even kidnaps her. Ironically, the girl not only puts up with his obsessive behaviour but also discovers the good in him and falls in love with him. Even if the outcome is different, stalking is still valued. Imagine whether it is actually achievable.
Bulli bai is also a recent example of harassment women face online – Bulli Bai is an online forum where women and young girls can discuss their experiences with stalking and initiate potential legal remedies. Recently, a young girl alleged that her former boyfriend morphed the photos she shared on social media.
What are the laws provided for Stalking in India?
Under the Indian Penal Code, 1860, section 354D provides for the provision of stalking
“(1) Any man who--
(i) follows a woman and contacts or attempts to contact such woman to foster personal interaction repeatedly despite a clear indication of disinterest by such woman;
(ii) monitors the use by a woman of the internet, email, or any other form of electronic communication, commits the offence of stalking:
Provided that such conduct shall not amount to stalking if the man who pursued it proves that--
(i) it was pursued for the purpose of preventing or detecting crime, and the man accused of stalking had been entrusted with the responsibility of prevention and detection of crime by the State; or
(ii) it was pursued under any law or to comply with any condition or requirement imposed by any person under any law; or
(iii) in particular circumstances, such conduct was reasonable and justified.
(2) Whoever commits the offence of stalking shall be punished 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.”
Under Information Technology Act, 2000
Section 67 states, “Punishment for publishing or transmitting obscene material in electronic form. -Whoever publishes or transmits or causes to be published or transmitted in the electronic form, any material which is lascivious or appeals to the prurient interest or if its effect is such as to tend to deprave. Corrupt persons who are likely, having regard to all relevant circumstances, to read, see or hear the matter contained or embodied in it shall be punished on first conviction with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three years and with fine which may extend to five lakh rupees and in the event of second or subsequent conviction with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to five years and also with fine which may extend to ten lakh rupees.”
Cyberstalking is a crime where the attacker harasses the victim by stalking him/her over the internet. Cyberstalking includes browsing someone’s online history with the help of social media and monitoring the activities of any person through the internet.
Types of stalkers
Rejected – The one rejected by the person he/she loved or was in a relationship with and experienced a breakup.
Incompetent suitor – The one who is incompetent at relationships and targets strangers or casual acquaintances.
Resentful – The one who feels they’ve been mistreated somehow.
Intimacy seeker – The one who is often mentally ill, the intimacy-seeking stalker believes the victim will love or learn to love them, and they may have a delusional belief that the victim already does love them
Political stalker – The one motivated by their political beliefs and ends up stalking people who agree or disagree with their views.
Hitmen – the one who stalks the victims by a hired killer who has instructions to badly injure or kill a person
In India, a stalking case is reported every 55 minutes, but no appropriate legal action is taken. The citizens of India, especially women, expect a certain level of protection with the established rules and procedures, which these stalkers disregard. Most people are still unaware of stalking regulations, which are still very new. Individuals must be informed about these regulations so that they can cope with and handle such circumstances. It supports them as they navigate this problem. If we are to establish a society where the law is followed, such crimes against people, especially women, must stop, and their seriousness must be recognized. In addition to mental and physical abuse, a victim of stalking may also experience ridicule and outrage over her modesty. Even though the IPC has a provision for stalking, it makes no mention of cyberstalking. The amendments in the law must be reflected. Otherwise, it would not be of any use.