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Philip Zuzarte   07 April 2020

Harrassment on Social Media

This is happening to a friend of mine - he met a girl through a dating app. They were in touch for month (calls and texts only) before they decided to meet. They met, hung out and got intimate (but didn't have s*x). They continued to keep in touch albeit sporadically. About two weeks after that the guy told her that he wants to stay friends. The girl didn't take that well and continuously called him asking him to not distance himself from her and to get into a relationship with her. He kept answering her calls, answered her texts to ensure that she doesn't take any drastic steps, since she seemed very distressed about him wanting to move on. The continuous calls and texts went on for a month. He told her that he cannot keep taking her calls, explaining to her that this is over. After that, he decided he would block her number on his phone and WhatsApp, so she couldn't get in touch. Here's where things got ugly - she started harrassing him by getting in touch with his friends with the intention of defaming him. This continued for a year. Every time he and his friends blocked her (including me), she would get a hold of a new number and contact everyone and would continue to harrass. Once she ran out of numbers to use, she started creating fake Instagram accounts and began stalking him and his friends. In February, 2020 she created another profile on Instagram, after she found out that he began dating someone. She used this account to upload obscene content, name-calling and harrassing both of them. She has been careful to not name them, but one can put two and two together and understand that she's talking about them, because of her references which directly coincide. Through that account she follows his friends and messages us, inquiring about him, abusing him and making obscene remarks therefore harrassing all of us by extension.

My query is three-fold:
1. What action can we take against her for all of this stalking and harrassment? We have proof that she intends this account to be to post obscene content and to defame him.

2. Can we get a restraining order against her?

3. We have enough proof, but is the law gender neutral in these cases?

Please help. Much appreciated!


Learning

 2 Replies

Sayantan Misra   07 April 2020

Hello! On perusing the facts stated by you, it appears that:

1. You may take action against her under Section 66A (sending offensive messages), Section 67 (publishing or transmitting obscene material) of the IT ACT, and Section 499 IPC (Defamation) r/w Section 4 IT Act, depending upon the original and complete facts of the case.

2. You may also file for an injunction for restraining her from continuing the defamation.

3. The law is surely gender neutral and is not meant for women only, but the level of evidence needed to prove your case needs to be proper.

For any further query, you can drop a mail at: offstatute@gmail.com with full set of facts.
The above-stated opinion should not be taken as complete, because proper guidance can be given only after knowing the whole details.

Thank You!

John   23 August 2020

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