The Group of Ministers (GoM) headed by Home Minister Amit Shah, which was constituted to strengthen the legal framework to prevent sexual harassment at the workplace, has finalised its recommendations which will be put up for comments from the public soon.
Sexual Harassment of Women and Workplace Act, 2013:
- The Women and Child Development Ministry had steered the Sexual Harassment of Women and Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act in 2013, which was applicable to government offices, the private sector, NGOs and the unorganised sector.
- It made the employer responsible to prevent or deter acts of sexual harassment at the workplace.
- The 2013 Act had shortcomings like giving the powers of a civil court to the internal complaints committee without specifying if the members need to have a legal background. It only imposed a fine of ₹50,000 on employers for non-compliance.
- The Act said the employer shall provide assistance to the woman if she chooses to file a complaint under the IPC “against the perpetrator after the conclusion of the enquiry”.
- The proposed amendments would be largely based on the Vishaka Guidelines laid down by the Supreme Court in 1997, on which the 2013 Act was based.
Important Info :
- As per National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) the number of sexual harassment incidents at “work or office premises” registered under Section 509 IPC (words, gesture or act to insult the modesty of a woman) were 479 and 401 in the years 2017 and 2018 respectively.
- Among the cities, the highest number of such cases were registered in Delhi (28), Bengaluru (20), Pune (12) and Mumbai (12) in 2018.
- The total number of sexual harassment incidents in 2018 including that in public places, shelter homes and others was 20,962.
Source : The Hindu