Last updated: August 24, 2010
Indian law on cyber stalking:
Compiled by Debarati Halder
The Indian Information technology Act 2008 (amended) does not directly address stalking. But the problem is dealt more as an "intrusion on to the privacy of individual" than as regular cyber offences which are discussed in the IT Act 2008. Hence the most used provision for regulating cyber stalking in India is section 72 of the Indian information technology act ( Amended) , 2008 which runs as follows;
Section 72: Breach of confidentiality and privacy: Save as otherwise provided in this Act or any other law for the time being in force, any person who, in pursuant of any of the powers conferred under this Act, rules or regulations made there under, has secured access to any electronic record, book, register, correspondence, information, document or other material without the consent of the person concerned discloses such electronic record, book, register, correspondence, information, document or other material to any other person shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine which may extend to one lakh rupees, or with both.
And also section 72A of the Information Technology Act,2000(amended in 2008), which runs as follows:
Section 72A:Punishment for Disclosure of information in breach of lawful contract (Inserted vide ITAA-2008): Save as otherwise provided in this Act or any other law for the time being in force, any person including an intermediary who, while providing services under the terms of lawful contract, has secured access to any material containing personal information about another person, with the intent to cause or knowing that he is likely to cause wrongful loss or wrongful gain discloses, without the consent of the person concerned, or in breach of a lawful contract, such material to any other person shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years, or with a fine which may extend to five lakh rupees, or with both.
In practice, these provisions can be read with section 441 of the Indian Penal Code, which deals with offences related to Criminal trespass and runs as follows: Whoever enters into or upon property in the possession of another with intent to commit an offence or to intimidate, insult or annoy any person in possession of such property , or having lawfully entered into or upon such property, unlawfully remains there with intent thereby to intimidate , insult or annoy any such person, or with an intent to commit an offence, is said to commit criminal trespass.
If the cyber stalking is done only to annoy the victim and is not resulted to serious offences like severe defamation, sexual crimes, identity theft or even grave crimes like terrorism, it is treated as a bailable offence.
However, after the December, 2012 Delhi gang rape incidence, the Indian government had taken several initiatives to review the existing criminal laws. A special committee under Justice Verma was formed for this purpose and basing upon the report of the committee, several new laws were introduced. In this course, anti-stalking law was also introduced. The Criminal Law Amendment Ordinance,2013 added S.354D to the Indian Penal Code to define and punish the act of stalking. This law is as follows:
S.354D of the IPC (as has been added by the The Criminal Law Amendment Ordinance,2013 ):
Some of the functioning Government reporting agencies in India are :