Ministry moves to include stalking in IPC
In what will surely come as a relief to women across India, the government wants stalking to be made a separate offence under the Indian Penal Code (IPC), punishable with up to seven years in jail. Moushumi Das Gupta reports. Spelling it outdelhi Updated: Jan 19, 2012 02:19 IST
Presently, stalking cases are dealt with under sections 506 (punishment for criminal intimidation) and 509 (outraging the modesty of a woman through word, gesture or act) of the IPC. Stalking/cyber stalking is also not specifically defined as a crime under the Information Technology Act, where section 66 is invoked to deal with such offences.
Last month, the women and child development (WCD) ministry sent a proposal to the home ministry — which is presently reviewing legal provisions pertaining to sexual assault — to amend the IPC and make stalking a separate offence.
“We have written to the MHA to insert a new section, 509B, in the IPC to specifically tackle stalking incidents. We have proposed up to seven years imprisonment for the offence,” said a WCD ministry official.
For this, the WCD ministry has also clearly defined stalking: repeatedly following a woman from place to place; repeatedly contacting a woman via telephone, mail, fax and other ways; repeatedly loitering around or watching any place a woman resides, works or carries on business at.
The proposal is in response to comments sought by the home ministry on amendments being proposed in the IPC.
With crimes against women on the rise, last year, even the National Commission for Women had recommended that stalking be treated as a separate offence.