If a report by a leading national news agency is not off the mark, the government will treat demanding and obtaining of sex by someone in authority as a form of “bribe”. This is how the government is likely to interpret the amended Prevention of Corruption Act 1988, notified in July this year, we are told. In sum, the expression “bribe” and “illegal gratification” are being expanded to go beyond meaning just monetary benefits and specifically including the demand for sex by someone in a position to bend government rules for the person agreeing to offer sex in return.
On various counts, such ideas are fundamentally absurd, and unlikely to stand judicial scrutiny. Also, the idea of getting sex as graft is outrageous.
The plain fact is that if a woman seeking a favour from a high official (of a level that would attract the Prevention of Corruption Act) is asked to submit to sex as a quid pro quo, he will automatically be liable to be hauled up on several grounds meant to protect the dignity of women, and this would be so even if the amended Prevention of Corruption Act didn’t exist.
The Prevention of Corruption Act, since its earliest avatar, was in response to a particular problem within the system. That was fighting monetary graft. It also included favours that can be easily monetised, like free holidays, air tickets and suchlike.
These are some of the ideas reportedly on the table now, but have actually been around for long. But the issue of extracting sex from someone to be treated on the same plane as extracting money or an expensive gift appears to be surreal.