With its extensive property and wealth of resources, the Internet offers a
simple setting for criminal activity. One such crime that has developed over the
past 20 years is cyber stalking. As low-cost, speedy internet access and a
greater number of internet users have emerged, the crime of stalking has also
been amplified online and is now known as "cyberstalking," "e-stalking," or
In addition, a lot of software programmes, including spyware and stalkware, are
available today solely for the purpose of abusing technology and conducting
covert police investigations without the subject's knowledge. Interestingly, a
recent study discovered that the punishment for the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020
has increased the crime of cyberstalking at a rapid rate.
This paper's ultimate goals are to understand how cyberstalking has
evolved in an abstract way while prioritising the right to privacy, look for its
connections to cyberbullying, and concentrate on the existing legal safeguards
against the crime of cyberstalking. This paper examines the many laws that the
Indian Republic has established to combat online stalking.
The term "Star-Stalking" was first used in the early 1990s to describe celebrity
stalking by admirers. Currently, criminal behavior has spread beyond the
physical world and includes both the virtual and physical realms. Cyberspace has
led to unheard-of changes in the way people go about their daily lives in this
Information and communication technology (ICT), which was first
developed for the benefit of society and to improve people's fashion and luxury,
has gradually evolved into a tool for criminal objectives. The 3A(s) of Cyber
area i.e., Anonymity, Authority, and a focus that not solely attracts the
criminally minded folks, rather it additionally provides a chance for people to
unleash their negative aspects to get pleasure in the dark fun.
The common goal of these stalkers is to invade their target's private space. In
addition, cyber stalkers always try to keep tabs on their target's every move by
sending them endless emails, text messages, obnoxious phone calls, or some other
method. Yet, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) has recognized the
right to privacy as a fundamental human right since 1948, and the International
Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) has done the same since 1966.
Subsequently, the Supreme Court of India affirmed unequivocally that the right
to privacy is a crucial component of the fundamental freedom protected by
Article 21 of the Indian Constitution. The supreme court made the following
observation: "Privacy isn't lost or ceded merely because the individual is in a
very public setting. Since it's a crucial component of one's dignity, privacy
attaches to the person.
Hence, this cyberstalking behaviour not only frightens and makes the victim feel
threatened, but it also violates the victim's basic rights to privacy, dignity,
and private liberty. It is important to note that a WHOA report from 2013
indicated that the majority of cyberstalking victims were female, (ii) about 40%
of cyber-stalkers were male, and (iii) there were roughly 60 female victims of
According to Harold D' Costa, the director of the Cyber Intelligent company and
a trainer for police officers, "We are receiving close to 200 cases of this kind
(cybercrime) every day from all throughout Maharashtra. India is the
second-largest Internet user in the world, whereas Maharashtra is the top
Internet user in India.
On various social networking platforms, there are nearly 16.04 big integer
Indians registered, which makes it much easier to catch these stalkers. Also,
this crime of cyberstalking was prepared during the COVID-19 incarceration
period when people were forced to spend the majority of their time online.
Development of cyberstalking
The concepts of "customary following" and "cyberstalking" are inextricably
linked, however they shouldn't be used interchangeably because cyberstalking
unquestionably refers to a new sort of depraved behaviour that can be
distinguished from the concept of "customary stalking."
In essence, cyberstalking derives only partially from the concept of traditional
disturbance, in which the offender uses modern technology to commit crimes in
cyberspace. Stalkers use tactics and behaviours with the intention of bugging in
both traditional and online settings, and it has occasionally resulted in
negative consequences. Like traditional stalking, cyberstalking is motivated by
anger, outrage, and a desire to influence the target person. On occasion, it may
also be sparked by the victim's actions or inaction.
Surprisingly, Bociji and McFarlane defined "cyberstalking" as "a collection of
behaviors by a person who uses Information and Communications Technology (ICT)
to annoy someone else."
They additionally gave a rundown of ways of behaving which might be
named as cyberstalking, for example:
- transmission of dangers and bogus allegations;
- harm to information or hardware, personality, or information burglary;
- computer checking, the requesting of minors for sexual purposes and
- some other types of aggression. Further, cyberstalking in view of the
casualty's information can be partitioned into two types. That is where the
following demeanor is seen or referred to by the casualty is called 'Plain' and
whenever such exercises of digital stalker are stowed away from the casualty's
information is named 'Covert'. Thus, this altered and expanded conduct of
cyberstalking makes it more perplexing what is more, testing to handle.
Further, cyberstalking is not just restricted to the simple individual however
means any individual that incorporates the corporate elements too. Along these
lines, the previously mentioned cyberstalking ways of behaving gave an enhanced
weakness over the right to protection and conspicuously forced danger against
the assurance of information around the internet.
Yet, there aren't really any noteworthy issues that again set cyberstalking
apart from the following:
Geographical proximity is:
- Cyberstalking is carried out in a virtual
environment without regard to geographic boundaries. Thus, there is no prior
requirement for an actual showdown, so a digital stalker and casualty may or may
not be personally acquainted with one another;
If traditional stalking should occur, it is more favorable for professionals to
track down the stalker as opposed to cyberstalking. Similarly, in a later
instance, the identity of wrongdoers can be effectively hidden behind a mask of
- Spontaneous digital stalkers may arbitrarily choose their victims
because technology provides a safeguard to hide their identity.
Who Are The Most Likely Victims And Offenders Of Cyberstalking?
- Females are much more likely to come to be victimized than males.
- Educational organization also totally likely goal of cyberstalking.
Where Does Cyberstalking Occurs?
- Newsgroups/message boards
- Internet sites
- Chat rooms
- Third-party messages
- Service consumer profile
Online Harassment and Cyberstalking in India:
Legislative Remedies Since the 1990s, stalking and harassing has emerged as a
not unusual place incidence because of Internet. In 2001, India's first
cyberstalking case become stated. Manish Kathuria become stalking an Indian
lady, Ms. Ritu Kohli via way of means of illegally chatting at the internet
site, www.mirc.com the use of her name; and used obscene and obnoxious language,
and allotted her house phone number, invited humans to talk together along with
her at the phone. As a result, Ms. Ritu Kohli become getting obscene calls from
numerous states of India and abroad, and those have been speaking grimy together
along with her.
In a nation of shock, she known as the Delhi police and stated
the matter. The police registered her
case below Section 509 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 for outraging the modesty
of Ritu Kohli. But Section 509 refers best to a word, a gesture or an act meant
to insult modesty of a woman. But whilst equal matters are finished on Internet,
then there may be no point out approximately it with inside the stated section.
This case precipitated alarm to the Indian government, for the want to amend
legal guidelines concerning the aforesaid crime and concerning safety of
sufferers below the equal.
The Information Technology (Amendment) Act, 2008 As a result,
Section 66A of the Information Technology (Amendment) Act, 2008
(hereinafter the IT Act, 2008) states: Punishment for sending offensive
messages via communique service, etc.
Any character who sends, via a
laptop aid or a communique device:
- any records this is grossly offensive or has menacing character; or
- any records which he is aware of to be false, however for the cause of
inflicting annoyance, inconvenience, danger, obstruction, insult, injury,
crook intimidation, enmity, hatred, or sick will, consistently makes via way
of utilising such
laptop aid or a communique device;
- any email or email message for the cause of inflicting annoyance or
inconvenience or to misinform or to lie to the addressee or recipient
approximately the foundation of such messages Published in Articles phase of manupatra.com Bharati
Law Review, July - Sept., 2013 ninety will be punishable with
imprisonment for a time period which may also make bigger to threeyears and with
The IT Act, 2008 does now no longer at once cope
with stalking. But the trouble is dealt extra as an 'intrusion directly to the privateness of individual' than as everyday cyber offences that are
mentioned withinside the IT Act, 2008.
Hence the maximum used
provision for regulating cyberstalking in India is Section 72 of the IT Act,
2008 which runs as follows:
- Section72: Breach of confidentiality and privateness.- Save as in any
other case supplied on this Act or some other regulation in the intervening
time in force, any character who, in pursuant of any of the powers
conferred below this Act, policies or guidelines made thereunder, has
secured get admission to any digital record, book, register,
correspondence, records, file or different fabric without the consent of the
character involved discloses such digital record, book, register,
correspondence, records, file or different fabric to some other character
will be punished with imprisonment for a time period which may also
make bigger to two years, or with quality which may also make bigger to
at least one Lakh rupees, or with both.
- Section 72A: Punishment for disclosure of information in breach of lawful
contract.- 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 3 years, or
with a fine which may extend to 5 lakh rupees, or with both.
- In practice, these provisions can be read with Section 441 of the Indian
Penal Code, 1860 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.
The main barrier to the Indian government enforcing the Information Technology
Act is Section 75's "extraterritorial jurisdiction."
This section makes it quite plain that anyone who violates the Information
Technology Act in India, whether or not they are Indian nationals, by committing
a crime involving computer systems or networks, is subject to its penalties.
The law's purview has to be broadened. Moreover, when the legal systems of two
nations are completely at odds. Stalking may be prohibited in some places, but
not necessarily in others, where it may not even be regarded as wrongdoing. In
light of this, we have a jurisdictional issue. As a result, there is a problem
with enforcement to think about. Both nations will benefit from working together
to address this problem.
How One Prevent Themselves
After doing study on many facets of cyber communication, it was discovered that
there are restrictions on the legal control of online harassment in situations
involving cyberstalkers who operate in anonymity. These are some more
appropriate strategies people can employ to safeguard themselves against online
- Avoid disclosing personal information to strangers or sharing it in
public areas of the internet, including chat rooms and e-mail.
- If you ever get an offensive, slanderous, or inflammatory email, never
react to it.
- Avoid getting riled up online or responding to flame.
- You can use internet filtering tools like email ID blocking, spam
reporting, and strong encryption programmes like Pretty Good Privacy (PGP),
which guarantee completely private communications. You shouldn't be the
victim of stalking if it's happening to you.
Report the event to your ISP, the local police department, or a group that
provides internet assistance. You should also ask your tech-savvy friends for
- Save communications, or copy them and paste them into self-emails, to
preserve any proof of potential harassment.
- Prevention is always preferable to treatment.
The ideal way to voice issues is through a cyber cell or online help desk.
Websites must remove reported content within 24 hours in order to comply with
Rule 2(b) of Chapter II of the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines
and Digital Media Ethics Code) Regulations, 2021.
In addition to the police, victims have the option of getting in touch with
CERT-IN (Indian Computer Emergency Response Team), a nodal organisation
recognised under Section 70B of the IT Act.The National Cyber Crime Reporting
Portal is another option for the victim to file a complaint.
The best approach involves the person setting their own restrictions, like
needing a challenging password with both letters and digits. Limiting how much
personally identifiable information is posted about oneself on social media is
also crucial. The Information Technology Act has to be revised to make law
enforcement easier, and the scope of existing laws should be expanded to
encompass extraterritorial jurisdiction.
- Available at:
- Information Technology Act,2000 https://eprocure.gov.in/cppp/rulesandprocs/
- Joel Best, Stalking, Encyclopedia Britannica, June 6, 2016 available at:
- Ehsan Salimi & Abbas Mansourabadi, The Criminology of Cyber Stalking
- Merriam-Webster Legal Dictionary, Cyberstalking, available at:
- Universal Declarations of Human Rights, G.A. Res. 217A, U.N. Doc. A/810
(December 12, 1948), Art. 12: No one shall be subjected to arbitrary
interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to
attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the
protection of the law against such interference or attacks.
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