Jul 26, 2022

‘Raanjhanaa’: Perpetuating the stalking myth

The scenes in the movie perpetuate ‘stalking’ as if it is a cultural norm endemic to India. Stalking, coercion, threatening to self-harm in case the woman doesn’t give in to the whim and fancies of the harasser. The problem lies in stalking being normalised as an ‘expression of love’. There can hardly ever be a justification for predatory behaviour.

If the man was brought before a court under Indian law, he could be punished for the crime of stalking under Section 354D of the Indian Penal Code, 1860.

A man can be punished for stalking if he:

  • follows a woman and contacts her to encourage personal interaction repeatedly, despite a clear indication of disinterest by the woman; or
  • monitors the woman’s use of the internet, email or any other form of electronic communication.


However, it is not considered stalking if the man proves that:

  • He pursued the woman for the purpose of preventing or detecting crime to fulfill his official or legal duty; or
  • In the circumstances, his conduct was reasonable and justified.


The punishment for stalking is jail time of up to three years and a fine (for the first offence) and jail time of up to five years and a fine (for subsequent offences).

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