Camera: Garvita Khybri
MP Dr Shashi Tharoor presented a Private Member’s bill on stalking co-drafted with The Quint on 3 August in the monsoon session in Parliament.
The Quint’s fight to improve our laws against stalking now reaches Parliament, with a Bill to make stalking a non-bailable offence.
The Private Member’s Bill, co-drafted by Dr Tharoor’s team and The Quint, seeks to ensure that stalking is taken more seriously and that stalkers are subjected to judicial scrutiny before being allowed out on bail. Stalking is rarely an offence in isolation. 80% of the stalking cases lead to acid attacks, rapes and sometimes even murders.
This is to minimise the risk of further attacks on survivors. It also includes amendments to the definition of stalking in Section 354D of the IPC to make it gender-neutral and include the safeguards proposed by the Verma Committee.
The introduction of the Bill in Parliament is an important step towards ensuring that these much-needed amendments are made to improve the law. To make this happen, Dr Tharoor has also submitted a detailed proposal drafted by The Quint and his office to Home Minister Rajnath Singh on this issue, for consideration by the Centre.
There is only principal change in the bill and that is that the bill will make sure that stalking is actually transformed into what is called a cognisable offence. That is, the police will arrest the person and the person will have to go to court and give arguments as to why he deserves bail, not jail. Now, the courts in general will rule in his favour if he is somebody who does not pose a threat or a menace. We’re not depriving an accused person of his civil rights, we’re just making sure that the person who is a victim of stalking gets a bit of a breather and a bit of security without feeling that complaining will be useless.Shashi Tharoor on the proposed change in the bill
According to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB):
- There has been a 33 percent rise in stalking cases. As many as 4,699 cases were reported in 2014 and 6,266 cases were reported in 2015
- Around 26 percent of the cases ended in conviction in 2015
- Around 35 percent of the cases ended in conviction in 2014
- In 2015, 83 percent of the accused were given bail before the investigation ended
- In 2014, 85 percent of the accused were given bail before the investigation ended
- Around 60 percent of all accused were men aged between 18 and 30. Around 2 percent were juveniles between the ages of 16 and 18.
This is why The Quint has launched a petition along with Varnika Kundu and MP Shashi Tharoor to appeal that Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh make stalking a non-bailable offence. Sign our petition here.
If you are being stalked or know someone who is being stalked, do reach out to us. You can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or drop in a message at +91 9999008335.
Let’s break this silence together.