Section 354-D (Indian Penal Code) Stalking
(1) Any man who— (i) 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
(ii) 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— (i) 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
(ii) it was pursued under any law or to comply with any condition or requirement imposed by any person under any law; or
(iii) 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.
Stalking creates uncertainty, instils fear, and can completely disrupt lives. It can involve severe-even lethal-violence. Stalking involves a pattern of overtly criminal and/or apparently innocent behaviour that makes victims fear for themselves or others. Stalking behaviours are related to harassment and intimidation.
In Attorney General v. Satish, (2022) 5 SCC 545 the Hon’ble Supreme Court has explained the offence of stalking under Section 354-D: which means following a woman and making or attempting to make contact (either physically or through electronic media) for personal interaction, despite a clear disinterest being displayed by the woman.
Arunachal Pradesh.—In its application to the State of Arunanchal Pradesh, in Section 354-D, for sub-section (2), the following sub-section shall be substituted, namely—
“(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 shall not be less than three years but which may extend to seven years and with fine which shall not be less than one lakh rupees:
Provided that the court may, for adequate and special reasons to be mentioned in the judgment, impose a sentence of lesser period of imprisonment than specified minimum imprisonment.”. [Vide Arunachal Pradesh Act 3 of 2019, S. 7, dt. 2-4-2019].
Chhattisgarh.—After Section 354-D, the following shall be inserted, namely—
“354-E. Liability person present who fails to prevert the commission of offence under Sections 354, 354-A, 354-B, 354-C, 354-D.—Whoever, being present at the time of commission of an offence under Section 354, Section 354-A, Section 354-B, Section 354-C or Section 354-D and being able to prevent such offence, fails to prevent the commission of such offence or not being in position to prevent the commission of such offence, fails to give information of the commission of such offence to the nearest magistrate or police officer, by any mode, with the intention of screening the offender from legal punishment, shall be liable for abetment of such offence and shall be punished with imprisonment of either description which may extend to three years or with fine or with both.”. [Vide Chhattisgarh Act 25 of 2015, S. 4, w.e.f. 21-7-2015]
Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir.—In its application to the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir, after Section 354-D, insert the following section, namely:—
“354-E. Sextortion.—(1) Whoever,—
(a) being in a position of authority; or
(b) being in a fiduciary relationship; or
(c) being a public servant,
abuses such authority or fiduciary relationship or misuses his official position to employ physical or non physical forms of coercion to extort or demand sexual favours from any woman in exchange of some benefits or other favours that such person is empowered to grant or withhold, shall be guilty of offence of sextortion.
Explanation.—For the purpose of this section, ‘sexual favour’ shall mean and include any kind of unwanted sexual activity ranging from sexually suggestive conduct, sexually explicit actions such as touching, exposure of private body parts to sexual intercourse, including exposure over the electronic mode of communication.
(2) Any person who commits the offence of sextortion shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than three years but may extend to five years and with fine.” [Vide S.O. 1123(E), dated 18-3-2020 (w.e.f. 18-3-2020)].
Union Territory of Ladakh.—In its application to the Union Territory of Ladakh — Same as that of UT of Jammu and Kashmir. [Vide S.O. 3774(E), dated 23-10-2020].