Maharashtra recorded the highest number of stalking cases in 2020.

What is Stalking?

Last updated on May 11, 2022

[Trigger Warning: This explainer contains information on physical violence, sexual violence, abuse and slurs which some readers may find disturbing.]

If a person repeatedly follows, contacts or monitors someone despite their disinterest or lack of consent, it is known as stalking. Stalking is a term used for numerous activities done by a person, which when taken together can disrupt the life of the survivor.(( Section 354D, Indian Penal Code, 1860.)) Under the law, only a man can be punished for the crime.

Stalking can happen in close proximity physically or over the phone or even online. The crime of stalking is:

  • Repetitive in nature and is consistent.(( State v. Sh. Abhimanyu, District Court, (Special Judge, CBI) Delhi (2018) CA No.18/15.)) 

For example, if a person sends love letters every day to someone, despite their disinterest.  

For example, if flowers are repeatedly sent to a person’s office by someone and this makes them the subject of ridicule at the office. 

  • It is an invasion of personal space.

For example, if someone is followed every day to their place of work.

  • Attempting to establish a relationship or personal contact with someone without their consent.

For example, if someone sends multiple WhatsApp messages hoping for a reply.

The punishment for online stalking is jail time up to three years along with a fine. For repeat offenders, the punishment is higher, i.e. up to five years jail time along with a fine.(( Section 354D, Indian Penal Code, 1860.))

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