The Silent Terror Of Stalking Under IPC

March 18, 2024
Stalking Under IPC

Actus Reus and Mens Rea are the main legal tools used by the Indian Penal Code of 1860 to punish criminals. Following someone without their permission, in person or online, is commonly referred to as stalking. 

In India, stalking is prohibited by the IPC; however, prosecution is limited to cases involving women. Any activity that involves following someone or attempting to have a private conversation with them with the goal of upsetting or frightening them is considered stalking in the widest sense of the word.

Stalking under IPC: Who is a Stalker?

  • As per stalking under IPC, a person who engages in stalking is considered a stalker. Stalking is the deliberate, persistent pursuit of another person, against that person’s consent, with the intent to cause them fear or discomfort.

Stalking Meaning 

As per the stalking meaning, of stalking under IPC is defined as any unwanted, persistent attention, surveillance, or communication with another person to preserve women’s safety and dignity.

IPC Section for Stalking

  • The stalking in IPC is found in the first subsection of Section 354d. It states that a man could be charged with stalking if he does any of the following:
  1. Following a Woman: This involves pursuing a woman in person, keeping tabs on her whereabouts, or paying attention to her actions.
  2. Frequent Contacts or Attempting to Contact: The male reaches out to the lady on multiple occasions. This communication could take the form of messages, phone conversations, or other written communication.

Stalking IPC: Important Ingredients

The important ingredients as per stalking in IPC under Section 354D are as follows:

  • The man attempted to approach any woman against her consent. 
  • The man has to be the one to commit it.
  • The man’s actions have produced a certain recurrence. 
  • The woman should not have any conflicts of interest.

Stalking Punishment in IPC

The IPC’s Section 354D outlines the consequences of stalking. It also includes the penalty for stalking offenders, which is as follows:

  • In the case of the First Offense: The offender faces a maximum term of three years in prison of any sort as well as a fine liability.
  • In the case of the Subsequent Offense: The offender may receive a fine in addition to a maximum sentence of five years in either type of jail.

Stalking Under IPC: Is it a Bailable Offence?

  • Stalking is a crime that is penalized by law and available for bail for the first offense; it is not eligible for bail for subsequent offenses. 
  • It is crucial to understand that a future offense’s calculation does not start until the first crime is judged guilty.

Stalking IPC: Case Laws

  • In the case of Kalandi Charan Lenka v State of Orissa, the victim was a girl who claimed to have been the target of abusive remarks spoken at school. Before this, the victim’s father had received abusive messages on his phone from an unidentified mobile number that had a detrimental effect on his character. After reading the message, her father expressed regret and informed the victim of what had transpired. The High Court denied the bail motion, stating that the accused was guilty of sexual harassment prima facie.
  • The Bombay High Court handled the case of Shri Deu Baju Bodake v State of Maharashtra, which involved the horrifying death of a woman due to the accused’s continuous harassment and stalking. Despite the victim’s obvious resistance and lack of interest, the offender followed and hounded her nonstop, even during her shift at work. The High Court stressed the need to apply Section 354D of the IPC to aiding and abetting suicide as a way to hold those responsible accountable.

Legal Remedies for Stalking

  • India’s laws against stalking, which include up to three years in prison and a fine upon a first conviction, are outlined in Section 354d (2) of the IPC. The punishment for a second or subsequent conviction is a fine that can be paid as well as a maximum term of five years in prison.  
  • The IT Act’s Section 67 addresses those who post or transmit pornographic content electronically. First convictions will result in imprisonment of either description for a maximum term of three years (3 years) and fines up to five lakh rupees (Rs. 5,00,000). Second and subsequent convictions will result in imprisonment of either description for a maximum term of five years (5 years) and fines up to ten lakh rupees (Rs. 10,00,000).

Online stalking laws India: How Should India Handle the Crime of Stalking?

  • Record anything that the offender sends you, including any threatening letters or unsolicited texts.
  • Inform your loved ones, friends, family, and coworkers, for example. 
  • Get in touch with Stalking victim support services or police enforcement and file a report, making sure to include all relevant details and evidence of the stalker incidents. Report the incident to the Cyber Cell if you think you are being stalked online.
  • Request a restraining order to prevent the stalker from contacting or approaching you. Additionally, for legal advice on the matter, speak with attorneys.
  • Raise awareness of the need for people to use caution when sharing personal information online and consider changing the privacy settings on social media platforms. 
  • Ensure that your records contain the dates, times, and descriptions of incidents so that you can provide evidence if needed. Take screenshots, store copies, and create backups of all the evidence.  
  • Maintain regular updates on the case’s progress and stay informed about any new laws connected to stalking.

The majority of people in India are still unaware of the relatively Anti-stalking laws in India. Creating a prompt redressal procedure, educating law enforcement, and establishing a specialized apparatus is necessary to address the issue of stalking, both in-person and online.

In this day and age of increased connectivity and technological advancements, understanding stalking is crucial for both women who are being targeted and anyone hoping to stop false accusations.

Stalking under IPC FAQs

  1. What IPC section is stalking?

The Indian Penal Code’s Section 354D lists stalking as a crime under the legislation. Stalking occurs when a male tries to contact a lady online by email, instant messaging, or any other electronic communication method without getting her attention.

  1. Is 354 IPC bailable or not?

Since IPC 354 is a non-bailable offense, the offender cannot be freed on a bond without the judge’s approval. For this offense, the maximum sentence for incarceration is two years, the maximum sentence for imprisonment is seven years, and there is also a fine.

  1. What is Section 354A to D IPC?
  • Section 354A: Sexual harassment and its penalties are covered. 
  • Section 354B: Assault or use of unlawful force against a woman to undress her. 
  • Section 354C: Voyeurism and its penalties are covered. 
  • Section 354D: Prohibition of stalking and penalties for it.
  1. What is the difference between 354 and 354A IPC?

A woman’s modesty may be violated by assault or criminal force under Section 354 IPC, but unwanted and explicit sexual advances are expressly covered under Section 354A IPC.

  1. What is the landmark case on stalking in India?

In Santosh Kumar Singh v. State Through CBI, the case concerned the 25-year-old law student Priyadarshini Mattoo’s stalking, rape, and murder in New Delhi.

  1. Is Section 354D IPC compoundable?

Since the offense under IPC Section 354 is not compoundable, even if the victim so chooses, they are unable to withdraw their case against the offender. The matter will go to trial, and the judge will determine whether or not the accused is guilty.

  1. What is false section 354?

You must get legal counsel right once if you have been wrongfully accused of violating Section 354 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), which deals with assault or criminal force against a woman to upset her modesty.

  1. What is the punishment for stalking IPC?

In the case of the first conviction of stalking carries a sentence of up to three years in prison and in the second or subsequent conviction, the offender faces imprisonment of any kind for a maximum term of five years, as well as a fine. All subsequent convictions carry the same penalties.

  1. What are the ingredients of stalking?

According to Justice K. Babu, a male must have followed a lady and tried to get in touch with her on multiple occasions, even when she gave clear signs that she was not interested in him, especially if he was acting lewdly or showing signs of sexual interest.

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