Merchant Navy Officer Arrested for Stalking, Harassing DU Student
A 25-year-old merchant navy officer was arrested for allegedly stalking and harassing a Delhi University student, the police said.
According to PTI, the incident was reported from southeast Delhi's Amar Colony and the man was arrested on Friday, 20 April.
The student claimed that the man met her at a park a few months ago and had asked for her phone to make a call as his phone's battery was out of charge. He also convinced the girl to share her number and started messaging and calling her, the police said.
While the girl reportedly tried to block his phone number, he kept calling her from unknown numbers and harassing her, following which she approached the police.
A case was registered under Sections 354-D (stalking), 506 (threatening) and 509 (word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman) of the Indian Penal Code by the Delhi Police.
“After lodging an FIR, police started their investigation and, with the help of technical surveillance, arrested the accused. During questioning, the accused told police he used to approach women in public using the same method,” a police officer told the The Indian Express.
Why Make Stalking a Non-Bailable Offence?
The fact that stalking is still a bailable offence in our country allows stalkers to get bail without serious scrutiny. This often puts the survivors at risk of facing acid attacks, rape, and even murder.
Stalking as a separate offence did not exist in the IPC till 2013. This necessarily affects any analysis of the statistics relating to stalking, as the National Crime Records Bureau (“NCRB”) only has statistical data for the years 2014-2016. Despite this, the data available paints an interesting picture of the nature of the crime and the way it is being dealt with in the country.
- In 2014, nearly 4,700 cases of stalking were reported. This jumped to 6,300 in 2015 – a 33% increase. In 2016, nearly 7,200 cases were reported. Given that awareness about the offence is still nascent and society still tends to view stalking as not too serious an offence, such high numbers, with increases every year, indicate how prevalent the crime really is.
- Pendency rates for trials are high. In 2016, 13,449 cases were pending trial for stalking, out of which trial was completed in only 1,534 cases i.e. 11.4%. This leaves a huge backlog of trials to be carried forward into the new year.
- In terms of the number of cases reported each year, only 3% in 2014, 5% in 2015 and 5% in 2016 resulted in convictions. In terms of trials, the conviction rate was 35% in 2014, but dropped to 26% in 2015 and stood at 26.4% in 2016.
- Importantly, the data indicates a lower-than-normal incidence of false cases. The NCRB’s statistics show that of the 9,800 stalking cases investigated by the police in the year, only 215 were found by them to be false. This comes out to be only 2.1% of all cases investigated in the year – which is below the average percentage of false cases per crimes investigated across the country: 2.5%.
(With inputs from PTI and The Indian Express)
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