The J&K administration, led by Governor Satya Pal Malik, introduced a fresh offence “sextortion” on Friday, which makes “sexual exploitation of women by people in positions of authority, having a fiduciary relationship or public servants” a criminal offence. In doing so, J&K became the first state in the country to have a separate legislation banning sexual exploitation of women.
The State Administrative Council (SAC) approved two new bills — Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Bill, 2018 and Jammu and Kashmir Criminal Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2018 — to introduce the offence.
What is J&K’s sextortion law?
A “specific offence Sextortion” has been “inserted” in Ranbir Penal Code, an official statement said. “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 and amendment is being made in Prevention of Corruption Act to amend the definition of misconduct and to provide that demand for sexual favours would also constitute misconduct within the meaning of section 5,’’ it said.
According to the amendments, “any persons in a position of authority or in 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 offence of sextortion”.
They make it clear that “it shall be no defence that the sexual benefit was derived with the consent of the victim”.
Those committing the offence of sextortion shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment for a term but not less than three years, but may extend to five years and with fine. The offence is “non-bailable” and “not compoundable”.