In a first, Jammu and Kashmir enacts law against ‘sextortion’ of women

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The Jammu and Kashmir become the first Indian state to criminalize the sexual exploitation of women by those in positions of authority, having a relationship with the victim or any public servant.

The move came to protect the women amidst cases of #MeToo Movement. The state administrative council on Friday approved an amendment to the state’s Ranbir Penal Code. The “Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Bill, 2018” and the “Jammu and Kashmir Criminal Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2018” were approved by the council. The state administrative council met under the chairmanship of Satya Pal Malik.

With the amendment, “any person being in a position of auth­o­rity or a fiduciary relationship, or a public servant, who abuses such position or fiduciary relationship to employ physical or non-physical form of coercion to extort, request, or demand sexual favours from any woman in exchange of some benefits or favours that such person is empowered to grant or withhold” shall be guilty of sextortion

The Indian Penal Code (IPC) does not define ‘sextortion; although is the foundation on which Ranbir Penal Code is based. (Indian Penal Code is not applicable in the state of Jammu and Kashmir). With an amendment in RPC, Jammu and Kashmir become the first Indian state to criminalize the sexual exploitation of women by those in powerful positions.

According to the Official Spokesperson, the amendments are being made in Section 154, 161, schedule of Criminal Procedure Code and Section 53A of the Evidence Act. Also, another amendment is being made in the Prevention of Corruption Act in order to change the definition of misconduct and to include, the demands for sexual favors at the workplace under Section of the law, the spokesman pointed out.

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