Shashi Tharoor Meets Rajnath Singh, Discusses Stalking Law

On International Women’s Day 2018, 8 March, Dr Shashi Tharoor visited Home Minister Rajnath Singh’s office to discuss his proposal to make stalking a non-bailable offence.

The proposal was co-drafted by The Quint and Shashi Tharoor’s office.

The Home Minister has taken cognisance of the issue and has assured Dr Tharoor that he will look into the law and consider amending it.

What is The Quint’s #TalkingStalking Campaign?

As part of its #TalkingStalking campaign, The Quint – over the last few months – has been encouraging stalking survivors to come forward and share their stories.

Hoping to make a difference, we drafted a detailed proposal with senior advocate Kamini Jaiswal, arguing why our criminal laws need to be amended to make stalking a non-bailable offence. This change can help ensure stalking is taken more seriously. If stalkers are subjected to judicial scrutiny before being allowed out on bail, it can minimise the risk of further attacks on survivors.

Dr Shashi Tharoor agreed to work with us on this, and we drafted a Private Member’s Bill with his team – which has been submitted to the Parliament.

What the Data on Stalking Shows

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 about 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 an increase every year, indicate how prevalent the offence of stalking is.
  • Pendency rates for trials are high. In 2016, 13,449 stalking cases were pending trial, out of which trial was completed in only 1,534 cases ie 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 was 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 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%.

Sign our petition to make stalking a non-bailable offence here.

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