Get new law or amend PCA 2006
Srinagar: The J&K High Court on Tuesday directed state government to enact a strict law or amend Prevent of Corruption Act 2006 to end sexual abuse of women in any form.
The court directed the Chief Secretary J&K to examine the issue of “sextortion” and place a status report before the court on next hearing.
“The demand for a sexual favour from a woman to, for instance, enable her to secure a job or a promotion or passing a test for a student pursuing education or even for routine work from persons in authority (not only in public service) is not unheard of or unusual. Such situations include places, where engagement or advancement depends on discretion which vests in the perpetrators,” the court said.
The Division Bench of Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Alok Aradhe in its order noted the insufficiency of the provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act 2006 to deal with the situation. “The Court has emphasized the need to adequately address such corruption and the dire need to amend the law or to frame a new law. The developments on the above issue, however, have not been placed before the court till date,” the court said.
The court added that any definition “must notice that a sexual favour could encompass anything from an inappropriate suggestion, improper touch to sexual intercourse.”
“In this regard, the internationally developing concept of ‘sextortion’ could be examined in the Indian context and to see whether the State is required to either legislate a separate law on the subject or to make necessary amendments in the existing penal laws or undertake a combination of both so as to create a requisite deterrent effect in the society against the sexual exploitation of women in any form whatsoever, as has been done in the various South African Countries, Manilla, and other countries as also recognized by the United Nations.”
“It therefore cannot be denied that it is absolutely imperative that the illegal acts, unwarranted demands and in appropriate contacts are given a legal nomenclature, clearly defined and also made specifically punishable in law and that the critical vacuum in the legislation in this regard is immediately addressed,” the court ordered.
“Let this order be placed before the Chief Secretary of the State of Jammu and Kashmir to examine the above issues, and take appropriate steps. Let a status report be placed before us before the next date of hearing,” the court directed and observed that it was the duty of the state to ensure circumstances of emotional and physical security which inspire confidence in women to live freely and to ensure the Constitutional goal of equality by creating a level playing field for them in all circumstances.