J&K has become the first State in the country to have a law explicitly banning sexual exploitation of women by those in position of authority, having a fiduciary relationship or a public servant. Termed as Sextortion it refers to a form of blackmail in which sexual information or images are used to extort sexual favours from the victim. Social media and text messages are often the source of the sexual material and the threatened means of sharing it with others. The State Administrative Council (SAC) under the chairmanship of Governor, Satya Pal Malik had approved the ‘Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Bill, 2018 and the Jammu and Kashmir Criminal Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2018’ to amend the definition of misconduct and to provide that demand for sexual favours would also constitute misconduct within the meaning of Section 5. Proliferation of social media to check this type of crime needs special legislation so that coercion should not become a handicap for seeking favours. The Bill is a landmark move in delivering justice to women. Recently we have seen the social media getting flooded with ‘MeToo’ campaign country wide and women from various fields of society coming forward to highlight the harassment they have met in the work place. Empowering women with such legislations would give them the much needed social support but the onus is on woman to bring any injustice to the public fora. Already criminal laws have adequate provisions to deal with such offences but the time taken in justice deliverance is too much. Given the social set up in Jammu and Kashmir and the stigma attached one doubts whether woman will have the courage to come into public and shame the official.
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© 2017 State Times Daily Newspaper