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Help Regarding Harassment Through Unwanted Telephone Calls

The contemporaneous generation is constantly the target of unprompted and harassing phone calls in which one person belittles, threatens, or otherwise violates another's dignity. The fact that the person on the other end of the phone is absolutely unknown makes it more serious. Such calls fall under the definition of a criminal offence in India. Hence they must file a complaint against harassing phone calls as soon as possible to the appropriate authority.

According to a research by "Truecaller" in 2020, about 8 out of 10 women report receiving harassing or inappropriate phone calls at least once per week in India. Kolkata, New Delhi, Chennai and Pune are the major cities affected in India. Indian women regularly give out their phone numbers when filling out paperwork or in public places like malls and restaurants.

However, approximately 12% of women reported the calls to the police and the 2. remaining 88% simply blocked the number when it came to filing a complaint against harassing phone calls. The use of blank calls is considered harassment. Most of these calls are made in a mysterious manner with the express intention of frightening or bothering a person.

Police sources claim that incidences of phone call harassment significantly rose after Section 66A of the Information Technology Act of 2000 (which was concerned with penalties for transmitting offensive messages through communication services) was overbalanced by the Supreme Court in 2015. In one case in point, a college student received numerous vulgar text messages and calls from an unknown number. Later, the cops discovered that the number belonged to a classmate of hers. According to a poll, the caller was typically someone the victim knew.

Conditions For An Unsolicited Call To Qualify As Harassing

Not all unsolicited phone calls fall within the definition of "harassment."

The following conditions must be met for an unsolicited phone call to qualify as harassing:
  • Caller wants to frighten or annoy you by calling you every time.
  • Making remarks, ideas, requests, or proposals that are disrespectful or disgusting.
  • Continuing the conversation while remaining unknown.
  • Abusive or derogatory telephone behaviour.
  • Avoiding eye contact, playing disturbing music, or breathing heavily while annoying.

How Harassment On Telephone Calls Has Impacted On Women:

The harassment on telephone calls has affected women in India in several ways. In 2019, Truecaller performed a poll of 2150 women from 14 different cities, with ages ranging from 15 to 35. Nearly four out of five women reported feeling irritated or angry as a result of the harassment calls, according to the research.

One in three women reported that they were psychologically affected by such calls and felt frightened, anxious and troubled. Further evidence that such calls are affecting more women comes from the fact that the impacted numbers keep rising each year. The victim of phone call harassment must report the incident to the police and file a complaint against harassing phone calls in the general journal as a first step.

The victim can record information to aid the authorities in identifying the perpetrator, such as the gender of the caller, the tone of his voice, the date and time of the phone call, the details of the conversation, and the caller's estimated age. The victim must submit an FIR if the harassing phone calls go on for an extended period of time.

Provisions For Charging Harasser And How To File A Complaint

India has put PROVISIONS for charging the harasser and these include: Section 509 of the Indian Penal Code This section states that if someone insults 5. your modesty over a phone call, they could face up to a year in jail and a fine. Section 506 of the Indian Penal Code.

This section states that anyone found guilty of the crime of criminal intimidation faces a sentence of up to seven years in jail and/or a fine. Section 354A of the Indian Penal Code.

According to this section, anyone who solicits sexual favours or makes sexually suggestive comments commits the crime of sexual harassment, which carries a sentence of up to three years in prison and/or a fine. Section 507 of the Indian Penal Code A two-year prison sentence will be added to the punishment stipulated under Section 506 of the IPC for anyone who attempts to intimidate or threaten a woman through anonymous communications.

Section 354D of the Indian Penal Code This section states that a person will be sentenced to three years in prison and a fine if they repeatedly approach a woman to start a sexual relationship, notwithstanding her lack of desire.

Women Helpline Numbers:

The 181 (Abhayam Helpline) is just for female use. Female counsellors are readily available to take the call and record the harasser's information. The police will then proceed to locate him and file a case against him after receiving the information from the helpline centre. Another nationwide women's helpline number is 1091. All a woman needs to do to report phone harassment is call this number, and the police will then take the appropriate measures. Both males and females can use the general number 100 to report a harassing phone call.

Position In Other Countries

The Federal Communications Act prohibits harassment over the phone specifically by 47 U.S. Code 223 and various state statutes, which also outline the legal remedies and enforcement procedures. Penal Code 653m PC forbids harassing phone calls and messages in California, including those that are vulgar, disturbing or threatening. Such offences carry a maximum 6-month sentence in prison and a $1,000 fine.

The Texas Penal Code states that making anonymous calls or having the phone ring continuously with the aim to harass, abuse, annoy or irritate another person is a crime that is punished by up to 180 days in prison and up to $2,000 as fine. If the caller has already been charged with harassment, he will face additional penalties, including a year in jail and a $4,000 fine.

As per Section 264 of the Criminal Code of Canada, calling someone frequently with the aim to harass or threaten them is punished by a minimum of ten years in prison.

Even though there are rules for filing a complaint against harassing phone calls, there are alternative options which can be used to deal with these problems. Keeping personal information private can reduce the likelihood of harassment from social media, random stores, and strangers. Another strategy used by the majority of Indian women and girls is to hang up the phone, block the number, and designate it as spam.

All of these solutions, meanwhile, are merely short-term fixes that won't prevent the harasser from harassing someone else in the near future. Therefore, it is strongly advised that such a harasser be reported as soon as possible and that serious legal action be taken against them to stop it from happening again.

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