The Jammu and Kashmir law department has recognized crimes public servants committed against women in lieu of benefits. In a bid to reduce abuse, including sexual exploitation, the government has proposed to alter provisions of Indian Penal Code, Criminal Procedure Code, Evidence Act and the Prevention of Corruption Act.

The state’s law department sought recommendations from government departments, institutions, public and other stakeholders to draft the bill. A spokesperson of the department said that the existing legislative provisions lack commands to check exploitation of women by persons in authority.

The upcoming amendment would punish any person 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 benefits that such person is empowered to grant or withhold. That person shall be guilty of the offence of “sextortion’’, The Indian Express reported.

The amendment proposes a fine and rigorous imprisonment for a term not less than three years. The imprisonment may extend to five years

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The bill explained sexual abuse as “any kind of unwanted sexual activity ranging from sexually suggestive conduct, sexually explicit actions such as touching, exposure of private body parts to sexual intercourse, including exposure over the electronic mode of communication’’. It even goes to say that consent of the victim would not result in defence of the accused.

The amendment proposes a fine and rigorous imprisonment for a term not less than three years. The imprisonment may extend to five years. It has also made the crime “non-bailable” and “non-compoundable”.

The bill has had one more amendment in which request for sexual favours by public servants will come within the ambit of term “misconduct’’ under Section 5 of Prevention of Corruption Act, 2006.

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