Outraging women's modesty

Laws have to be hard and harsh

Srinagar, Publish Date: Dec 18 2018 10:32PM | Updated Date: Dec 18 2018 10:32PM
Outraging women's modestyRepresentational pic

Women considered to be the weaker section of the society have often become victim of exploitation under one pretext or the other. Though many laws have been enacted to protect them like Domestic voilance Act, Anti Dowery Act etc. Yet the victimisation in one form or the other is still there.

One of the shocking cases that came to light in 2011 was when a person from South Kashmir was detained under Public Safety Act for his immoral activities.He challenged his detention and when response was filed by the State, judicial conscience was shocked to see what this fellow has been doing with young girls who belonged to poor families by exploiting them under the garb of providing jobs but virtually pushing them to become prostitutes.He was apparently running  a Security agency and under its cover was indulging in immoral activities and flesh trade by exploiting the helpless and hapless young poor girls. Honble High court took serious note of this grave illegal activity which was going on and on the one hand dismissed his petition against detention and on the other hand converted the said case into public interest litigation in Dec 2012 so that something is done for uplifting the said poor girls.I was asked to assist the honble Court as Amicus Curiae. While seeking feedback of such helpless girls particularly those who have reached marriageable age or are about to reach the same,the information given by way of response was further startling that 3,75,000 girls were identified in 2013 who needed help and rehabilitation.

This exercise was done through social welfare Department and District Social Welfare officers were asked to furnish the details, keep upto date records and execute the policies on the ground. Honble Court directed the State to frame a scheme for providing assistance to such girls for their marriage by providing each one who is to be married Rs.25000/- in cash and five grams of Gold on just furnishing an affidavit that she is about to get married. Government eventually through Government order passed a scheme known as State Marriage Assistances Scheme to implement above mentioned court orders. Besides this another initiative taken on the directions of court orders was to create avenues of earning livelihood through some skill training program which was introduced by the Government under the title of HUNAR. Through this scheme poor and jobless girls would be given training in different vocations and the goods/articles so produced would be sold through cooperative Societies so that they would earn sufficient amount  for there sustenance. This being continuous process is going on and is being monitored by the Honble Court and concerned Dy.Commissioners have to supervise the execution of both initiatives in there respective Districts.

That few months before when the case came up for consideration  of the Court honble Chief Justice made an observation that exploitation on the basis of sex other than at  any work place is not covered under any law which in few countries has come to be called as SEXTORTION like in Tanzania, Canada, China and Philippine etc. Hence State of J&K should take a lead in this regard to save women from such exploitation.Consequently couple of lady lawyers were entrusted the job of examining the possibilities of introducing amendments by way of suggestions to make relevant laws. After receiving the said note honble Chief justice while presiding a Division Bench on 15.10.2018 passed  very detailed order in which all the developments which have taken place visa vi the poor girls have been taken note of. Overall view of sextortion in other countries coupled with the work done by different women organisation in this behalf have been mentioned and finally directions were passed to the Chief Secretary to take further steps for making necessary amendments in relevant laws in this behalf.

By way of implementation therefore Draft Ordinance has been  put in public domain few days before to introduce section 354 E in RPC and Prevention of Corruption Act section 5 be amended to include sextortion as misconduct to be punished as offence under the said Act which amendment by now mst have been brought on relevant statute. Efforts of honble Chief Justice have been appreciated in this behalf because State of J and K is the first State to do so.

(B.A.Bashir is Senior Advocate)



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