Stalking: A Serious Offence in India


Stalking: A Serious Offence in India 


Stalking is when a person is followed and pursued online. Their privacy is invalid; they violated the Article 21 Constitution of India. Breach of privacy, their every move watched. It is a norm of harassment, can disrupt the life of victim and leave them felling very afraid and threatened.

“Stalking is a pattern of repeated and unwanted attention, harassment, contact, or any other course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to feel fear,” according to the Department of Justice. Similar to crimes of sexual violence, stalking is about power and control.

The internet is mirroring the real world. It means an expressed or implied physical threat that creates fear through the use of computer technology such as internet, e-mail, phones, text messages, webcams, websites or videos etc.,

The court struck down the provision as unconstitutional and a violation of free speech in 2015 in the Shreya Singhal Case.

  • The section relating to restrictions on online speech was declared unconstitutional on grounds of violating the freedom of speech guaranteed under Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution of India.
  • It held that online intermediaries would only be obligated to take down content on receiving an order from a court or government authority.

Motive of the stalking

  • Sexual Harassment
  • Obsessions of love
  • Revenge & Hate
  • Ego & Power Tripe


  • According to Melroy and Gothard Stalking is the wilful, malicious, and repeated following or harassing of another person that threatens his or her safety.

According to the IPC

  • According to Section 354 D of Indian Penal Code, Stalking means and includes- (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
  • According to section 509 Whoever, intending to insult the modesty of any woman, utters any word, makes any sound or gesture, or exhibits any object, intending that such word or sound shall be heard, or that such gesture or object shall be seen, by such woman, or intrudes upon the privacy of such woman, shall be punished with simple imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years, and also with fine

According to the IT Act 2000

  • According to Section 66A Of Information Technology Act 2000 made it a punishable offence for any person to send offensive information using a computer or any other electronic device. The provision also made it punishable for a person to send information that they believed to be false.

 Punishment is given: – 

  • Whoever commits the offence of stalking shall be punished on first conviction with imprisonment of either description for a term 
  1. which may extend to three years, and shall also be liable to fine; 
  2. 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, according to IPC

According to the 2018 national crime records bureau report, there were 9,450 cases of stalking was reported in India. This means on an average there is one case of stalking in every 55 minutes.

  • Section 66A of IT Act 2000 prescribed three years’ imprisonment if a social media message caused “annoyance” or was found “grossly offensive”. Even sending emails for causing annoyance, inconvenience, or to deceive or mislead the recipient about the origin of the message was punishable under this section.

Leading Cases of the stalking

  1. Seema Khanna (name changed), an employee with an embassy in New Delhi, know that web surfing would lead to an invasion of her privacy.
    In an apparent case of cyber stalking, Khanna (32) received a series of e-mails from a man asking her to either pose in the nude for him or pay Rs 1 lakh to him. In her complaint to Delhi Police, the woman said she started receiving these mails in the third week of November.

The accused threatened Khanna that he would put her morphed pictures on display at sex websites, along with her telephone number and address. He also allegedly threatened to put up these pictures in her neighbourhood in southwest Delhi.
“Initially, she ignored the mails, but soon she started receiving letters through post, repeating the same threat. She was forced to report the matter to the police,” said an officer with cybercrime cell.
That, however, was not the end of her ordeal. The accused mailed the woman her photographs. The woman claimed these were the same photographs which she had kept in her mail folder. The police said the accused had hacked her e-mail password which enabled him to access the pictures.

A preliminary inquiry into the complaint has revealed that the mails were sent to the victim from a cyber cafe in south Delhi. “We hope to trace the accused soon,” said deputy commissioner of police (crime) Deependra Pathak.

The police feel the accused might be known to the victim as he seemed to know a lot about her
The cyber stalker can be booked under Section 509 of the IPC for outraging the modesty of a woman and also under the Information Technology Act, 2000.

  1. In 2012, the Supreme Court in its judgment of Inspector General of Police v. S. Samuthiram (1999) set out eight guidelines to curb eve teasing. The Court discussed the importance of taking up grievances of victim and bystander for eve teasing in public places such as public transportation, educational institutions, cinema theatres, etc.
  2. In a leading case of stalking and rape titled PRIYA MATOO CASE where a young law student, was stalked by stalker Mr Santosh Singh, son of a former IPS officer, raped her and murdered her in her home at Vasant Kunj Delhi. Multiple complaints filed against the culprit in Vasant Kunj and RK Puram police station. Mattoo was alone at home on January 23, 1996, when she was raped by Santosh and then killed. Afterwards the case was transferred to CBI in 1996. The high court awarded him the death penalty which was later granted life imprisonment by Supreme Court in December 2010.


  1. Apparel Export Promotion Council v. A.K. Chopra (1999 Inspector General of Police v. S. Samuthiram (1999) (2013) 1 SCC 598
  2. PRIYA MATOO CASE (2010)9SCC747


Author:- Tarushi, B.A.LL.B.(9th Sem.), a Student of Saraswati Institution of Law

Building Equitable Partnerships for Sustainable Development


IPR and sports in India



  1. Is there any punishment for stalking in India?

Yes, stalking is a criminal offense in India, and there are legal provisions for punishing those who engage in stalking. Stalking is primarily addressed under Section 354D of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), which was introduced through an amendment in 2013. The section defines and penalizes stalking as a criminal offense.

According to Section 354D of the IPC, a person can be charged with stalking if they:

  1. Follow someone or contact them persistently despite clear disinterest or disapproval.
  2. Monitor their internet or electronic communication.
  3. Use force or create fear of physical harm to the person they are stalking.

The punishment for stalking in India can vary based on the severity of the offense:

  1. First-Time Offense: On the first conviction, the offender may face imprisonment for a term of up to three years and may be liable to pay a fine.

  2. Subsequent Offense: If a person is convicted of stalking for a second or subsequent time, the punishment may be imprisonment for a term of up to five years and a fine.

It is important to note that these penalties are subject to change, and you should consult the latest laws and consult with legal experts for the most current information. Additionally, various state laws and regulations may provide additional protection and punishment for stalking, so it’s essential to consider local laws and regulations as well. Stalking is a serious offense, and individuals who believe they are being stalked or harassed should report it to the authorities.


2. What is the seriousness of stalking?

Stalking is a serious and potentially dangerous criminal behavior that involves a pattern of unwanted and obsessive attention, harassment, and intrusion into someone’s life. The seriousness of stalking can vary depending on various factors, including the nature and extent of the behavior, the intentions of the stalker, and the impact on the victim. Here are some key reasons why stalking is considered a serious matter:

  1. Emotional and Psychological Impact: Stalking can cause severe emotional and psychological distress to the victim. It can lead to anxiety, depression, fear, and a sense of constant vulnerability. Victims often live in a state of heightened alertness, which can significantly affect their overall well-being.

  2. Physical Safety: Stalkers can escalate their behavior from unwanted attention to physical harm. Many stalking cases have resulted in violence, assault, and even homicide. Therefore, stalking poses a direct threat to the physical safety of the victim.

  3. Invasion of Privacy: Stalking often involves the invasion of a person’s privacy through means such as constant surveillance, unwanted communication, and tracking the victim’s activities. This can be deeply unsettling and can disrupt the victim’s daily life.

  4. Legal Consequences: Stalking is illegal in most jurisdictions, and those found guilty of stalking can face criminal charges. Penalties for stalking can include restraining orders, fines, and imprisonment. The severity of these consequences varies depending on the jurisdiction and the specific circumstances of the case.

  5. Persistence: Stalkers are often persistent, and their behavior can last for an extended period of time. This prolonged intrusion into a person’s life can have a long-lasting impact on the victim’s mental and emotional well-being.

  6. Impact on Relationships: Stalking can affect not only the victim but also their relationships with friends and family. The fear and stress associated with being stalked can strain these relationships and lead to isolation.

  7. Technological Advancements: In the digital age, technology has made it easier for stalkers to harass and track their victims. Cyberstalking, through methods like online harassment, tracking devices, and hacking, has added another dimension to the seriousness of stalking.

It’s important to take stalking seriously and report it to law enforcement. If you or someone you know is a victim of stalking, it’s advisable to seek help from law enforcement, legal authorities, or support organizations specializing in assisting stalking victims. Stalking is a crime that should not be underestimated, and efforts should be made to protect the safety and well-being of the victim.

3. What are the four categories of stalking?

Stalking is a pattern of repeated, intrusive, and unwanted behaviors that cause a person to feel threatened, harassed, or fearful. While there isn’t a universally agreed-upon classification of stalking into four specific categories, stalking behaviors can generally be categorized into the following types:

  1. Erotomania Stalking: In this type of stalking, the stalker believes that the victim is in love with them or that there is a romantic relationship between them, even when no such relationship exists. The stalker often misinterprets innocent gestures, and their actions may include sending love letters, gifts, or making unsolicited advances.

  2. Love Obsession Stalking: Love obsession stalking involves a stalker who has an intense and unhealthy infatuation with the victim. They may believe that they are meant to be together, even if the victim has no interest in a romantic relationship. The stalker may engage in activities such as constant surveillance, following the victim, and intrusive communications.

  3. Erotomania Stalking: Erotomania stalking involves a stalker who believes that someone of higher social status or celebrity is in love with them. This type of stalking is often delusional, and the stalker may engage in behaviors like writing letters, making phone calls, or attempting to make contact with the perceived admirer.

  4. Vengeance or Retaliation Stalking: Vengeance or retaliation stalking is motivated by a desire to harm or seek revenge against the victim for perceived wrongs or grievances. The stalker may engage in activities such as spreading false rumors, harassment, threats, and even physical violence.

It’s important to note that stalking behaviors can be complex and may not always fit neatly into these categories. Stalking can be a serious crime that causes significant harm to the victims, and it is essential to seek help from law enforcement and support services if you or someone you know is experiencing stalking. Laws and definitions of stalking may vary by jurisdiction, so it’s important to consult the laws and resources in your specific area for more detailed information.


4. Is mental harassment a crime in India?

Mental harassment, often referred to as psychological harassment or emotional abuse, is not explicitly defined as a standalone crime in India under a specific law. However, certain forms of mental harassment can be covered under various provisions of Indian laws, depending on the circumstances and the nature of the harassment. Here are some legal provisions that may be relevant:

  1. Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC): This section deals with “cruelty by husband or his relatives.” It can be invoked if a married woman is subjected to mental or physical cruelty by her husband or in-laws in connection with demands for dowry.

  2. Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005: This law addresses a wide range of domestic violence, including mental and emotional abuse, against women in a domestic relationship.

  3. Cyberbullying and Cyberstalking: Various sections of the IPC and the Information Technology Act, 2000, can be used to address online harassment and stalking, which can have severe mental and emotional consequences.

  4. Defamation: False statements made with the intention to harm a person’s reputation may lead to defamation cases, as defamation can cause significant mental distress.

  5. Workplace Harassment: The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition, and Redressal) Act, 2013, addresses various forms of harassment, including mental harassment, in the workplace.

It’s important to note that what constitutes mental harassment can be subjective, and not all instances of emotional distress may result in legal action. Victims of harassment should consider consulting with legal professionals or authorities to understand the applicable laws and remedies available to them.

Additionally, laws and their interpretation can change, so it’s advisable to consult with a legal expert or stay updated on the latest developments in Indian law if you have concerns related to mental harassment.



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