Tuesday, 15 February 2022

stalking

     Crime is an act or an omission which is universal or we can say it is in every bit of society and knowingly and unknowingly most part of the society is involved in it. To understand the crime there is no any universally accepted definition but there are different views of jurists and philosophers, but from a legal and legislative perspective – A crime is an act or omission which is illegal or which is against the law, and the wrongdoer is liable for punishment. The prosecution of case is started by state. There are innumerable types and classes of crimes and is continuously increasing. Stalking is one of them and was added in criminal laws of India after 2013 Criminal Amendment Act passed by the Justice Verma Committee due to the increasing number of crimes against modesty of women in society. Stalking is communication crime and it should not be gender biased but in our country stalking is held only against the women’s. In general anyone can be stalked and can stalk without even knowing most of the times, because in our society following someone, calling someone, asking someone, staring at someone, etc. is not accepted as a crime until a legal action is not taken against him/her. 

        Stalking is defined in Indian Penal code under section 354D but firstly it can be understood through Continuous and repeated following someone with ill intention of harming or causing fear to the person followed is said to be stalking. A crime of engaging in a course of conduct directed at a person that serves no legitimate purpose and seriously alarms, annoys, or intimidates that person.   

    Before the amendment in criminal laws there was no direct inclusion of the term stalking in penal law of India. The stalking was covered under category of just harassment such as voyeurism, sexual harassment against women and it was covered under Section 354 and Section 509 for using words or gestures to insult a woman’s modesty. Due to the shortcomings in the essentials of section 354 and section 509 of IPC, in most of the cases the wrongdoer moves freely from the court because it is hard to proof the certain essential conditions to constitute a crime-

  • The attack must be against a woman,

  • The offender must have used excessive force, 

  • The modesty of women should be offended.       

Therefore, it was need for emergence of the separate law for stalking in India. The act of stalking as of today after the criminal amendment act 2013, is a cognizable, bailable and non compoundable offence with punishment Up to three years and fine for the first conviction and Up to five years and fine for the repetition.

    Impact of stalking on the victim is different and mostly it is severe and psychologically traumatic for many victims who are emotionally weak. Most of the victims are suffering from mental health disorders and they feel vulnerable, out of control, stressed, and anxious most of the time and may experience a loss of trust, long-term emotions from even closed ones and it leads to anxiety, bipolar disorders, etc and resulted in all time anger and stress. In most of the conditions the victims change their jobs, move location, have secret telephone numbers, and started carrying weapons or firearms to protect themselves. 

    It is important that the cases of stalking should be dealt with more seriously and it should be the prime concern of state and reforming authorities to encourage the victims to share it with their family and loved ones and to take help of police by reporting of such kind of offences if anyone is stalking and not to suffer alone and the police needs to be alert, careful while dealing with such matters and not to deter the victim by asking harassing questions.


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