Jammu And Kashmir Becomes First State To Bring Law Against “Sextortion”

Jammu and Kashmir have become the first state in the country to have a law banning sexual exploitation of women by those in positions of authority, having a fiduciary relationship or a public servant.

The State Administrative Council (SAC) under the chairmanship of Governor Satya Pal Malik on Friday approved the ‘Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Bill, 2018’ and the ‘Jammu and Kashmir Criminal Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2018

Significance:

With this, Jammu and Kashmir have become the first state in the country to have a law banning sexual exploitation of women by those in positions of authority, having a fiduciary relationship or a public servant.

The Bill seeks to amend the Ranbir Penal Code, whereby specific offence under section 354 E is being inserted to provide for the offence of ‘Sextortion’.

Amendments are being made in section 154, 161 and Schedule of Criminal Procedure Code and section 53 A of the Evidence Act so as to bring sextortion at par with similar offences prescribed under Ranbir Penal Code.

An amendment is also being made in the Prevention of Corruption Act to amend the definition of misconduct and provide that demand for sexual favours would also constitute misconduct within the meaning of section 5.

The amendment came after an order was passed by Jammu and Kashmir High Court. The court had directed the state to examine the concept of ‘Sextortion; in the context of applicable laws. “So that illegal acts, unwarranted demands for sexual favours and inappropriate contacts by the person in authority are made punishable.”

Indian Penal code is not applicable to Jammu and Kashmir and in place of IPC, a similar criminal law Ranbir Penal Code applies in the state.  The code was introduced by Ranbir Singh during the Dogra Dynasty and it came in effect from 1932. The provision of code was prepared by Thomas Babington Macaulay.

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