HindustanTimes Wed,17 Sep 2014

Woman booked for misuse of new anti-stalking law

Avantika Mehta, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, July 05, 2014
First Published: 00:05 IST(5/7/2014) | Last Updated: 00:10 IST(5/7/2014)

A Delhi court has ordered the police to register an FIR against a woman who had allegedly filed false complaints against a Delhi-based pharmacist last year. Police said she had a record of having filed 10 cases — mostly of molestation and rape — against various people who registered counter FIRs against her.

In the present case, the pharmacist Naveen Kumar complained that this woman had falsely accused him on charges that were recently amended to section 354 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

His story goes that on the night of March 30 this year, when he was returning home from Kondli Mor after dropping his colleagues, the woman suddenly jumped in front of his car and started crying. She then threatened to call the police, taking Rs. 5,000 and his gold chain.

A policeman was present on the scene and he took Kumar to the Kalyan Puri police station where the woman filed her statements against him (the court has now directed that these be probed properly).

Kumar realised that the woman was known among his colleagues. Later, he started receiving anonymous phonecalls on behalf of the same woman, demanding Rs. 50,000. If he failed to serve up to it, he was threatened with more criminal implications.

Critics of the anti-stalking law (sec 354D) amended last year have long said it is ripe for misuse by women to settle personal scores. The section defines punishment for persons who are found guilty of non-consensual interaction both physically and via any means of electronic communication.

On June 3, the Supreme Court ruled that persons implicated in the anti-dowry law can no longer be “automatically” arrested before a proper probe has taken place. This was to keep in check women who were lodging false cases against their husbands and in-laws.

In March this year, the High Court had asked Delhi police to create a crime map with a special focus on crimes against women.

The  one-of-a-kind report was filed in a sealed cover before a bench headed by Justice BD Ahmed in April, and the court had noted that since the police now have the ‘crime mapping’ data, it should begin tackling the problems area-wise.

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