Stalking in India and its legal aspects
Stalking means to follow or watch over someone illegally despite their disinterest. The instances of stalking come into the limelight by the media when the son of a politician is involved making us aware that such crime is not uncommon. The recent Haryana stalking case where the BJP Chief’s son, Vikas Barala was arrested for following and blocking the car of women and harassing her. He and his friends were caught over 6 CCTV’s and are under police custody. There are five types of stalkers-
Rejected stalkers- These stalkers want to get back into relation or take revenge on the victim as a result of breakdown of some past relationship. The victim generally is a close family member or friend.
Resentful Stalker- They has the desire to take revenge which develops from paranoid belief that he has been humiliated or disrespected by the victim. The victim may be a stranger or a known acquaintance.
Intimacy seeking stalker- they want to establish emotional and intimate relationship with the victim. The disillusioned believe that they are closely related to the victim gives rise to such stalking.
Incompetent suitor- The stalker wishes for a short term relation with the victim. It may arise out of loneliness or lust. This may be the result of poor social skills or intellectual disability.
Predator stalker- In this the stalker develops an interest in the women which may end up in sexual assault. Such behavior comes by way of sexual gratification.
Law in India
It has been made a criminal offence under Sec. 354D by the Criminal Law (Amendment) Ordinance, 2013 which provides that (1) any man who—
- 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; or
- 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—
- 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
- 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.
(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.
Cyber stalking is the use of the Internet or other electronic means to stalk or harass  an individual, a group, or an organization. It may include false accusations, defamation, slander and libel. It may also include monitoring, identity theft, threats, vandalism, solicitation for sex, or gathering information that may be used to threaten or harassment. Generally cyber stalkers are classified into three types- the common obsession cyber stalker, the delusional cyber stalker, the vengeful cyber stalker. Cyber stalking is prevalent in India. The first case of cyber stalking is the case of Manish Kathuria, he created a profile under the name of Ritu Kohli, wife of former employer who had fired him. He used to chat with her name and gave the number of Mrs. Ritu Kohli who received obscene calls. Further, there was an amendment of Sec. 66A in the IT Act, 2008. One of the horrifying incidences of 2016 where the stalker stabbed the girl with scissors. It was reported that, “In the CCTV footage, Aditya (the stalker) is seen repeatedly stabbing Karuna on the torso while dragging her on the road. The footage also shows several people stop and stare before fleeing the spot. After being stabbed about a dozen times, Karuna falls and a passerby tries to intervene, but is driven away by Aditya, who continues to stab her motionless body,”
Keep yourself protected
Watch out on the information you share online and have a security check because social media like Face book also come with updated privacy updates. Never share your passwords and details with anyone and do not write it anywhere. One should remember to log out of devices after and use and also add only those people whom you know personally. It is t o be ensured that the passwords are strong and changed frequently. One should try not to reveal the places or events that you are going to visit or attend; it may so happen the stalker may follow up. In such cases, never hesitate to contact your close friends or parents. Be alert! Stay safe because it is said that, “better a thousand times careful than once dead”.
University Law College,Bhubaneswar.