In a historic decision to curb sexual exploitation of women, the J&K Government on Friday enacted a law explicitly banning such abuse in government offices, thus becoming the first state in the country to have such a legislation.
A new Section “E” has been added to the offences dealing with sexual harassment of women by men in authority in Section 354 of the Ranbir Penal Code (equivalent to the Indian Penal Code in J&K) that makes it a criminal offence and would entail three years of imprisonment for the offender.
The Bill was mooted after Chief Justice of the J&K High Court Justice Gita Mittal on October 23 had voiced concern over the sexual exploitation of women and had advised the government that there was a need to give a legal nomenclature of “sexploitation” to the illegal acts of unwarranted demands and inappropriate contacts.
A Bill to this effect was passed by the State Administrative Council in its meeting chaired by Governor Satya Pal Malik here on Friday, less than a week before Governor’s rule ends on December 19. During the current spell of the Central rule, the Governor has the legislative powers to enact any law as per the powers vested in him by the state constitution.
“Jammu and Kashmir today became the first state in the country to have explicitly banned sexual exploitation of women by the men in authority. J&K has become the first state in the country to have a law explicitly banning sexual exploitation of women by those in positions of authority, having a fiduciary relationship or a public servant,” read an official release issued here this afternoon after the SAC meeting.
The Amendments would be called “the Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Bill, 2018, and Jammu and Kashmir Criminal Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2018).
The Chief Justice had made the observations, as reported by Kashmir Post on October 23, in the wake of the #MeToo movement that had touched J&K as well.