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Posted at: Nov 7, 2018, 1:24 AM; last updated: Nov 7, 2018, 1:24 AM (IST)METOO

Depts not sticking to SC norms: Women panel

Says internal committees lack on several counts
Depts not sticking to SC norms: Women panel

Rajmeet Singh

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 6

Glaring anomalies in the constitution of the mandatory internal complaint committees for handling sexual harassment cases by various Punjab government departments have came to the fore.

The Punjab Women Commission (PWC), which is probing the sexual harassment charge against Amritsar district manager of Marked, has found that none of the committees have a representative of any NGO or a person familiar with the issue of sexual harassment.

The panel also found that the internal committee at Amritsar Civil Hospital did not have members as mandated under the Supreme Court’s Vishaka guidelines in dealing with sexual harassment at workplace.

The PWC has received two complaints from woman doctors of private hospitals in Mohali wherein seniors have forced the victims not to pursue the matter.

Taking a serious note of the violation, the PWC has shot off a communication to all departments telling them to adhere to the guidelines.

Manisha Gulati, PWC chairperson, said since the beginning of the #MeToo movement, there had been an increase in the number of complaints pertaining to sexual harassment at workplace. “However, the complaint committees either do not have the requisite number of women members or representatives of an NGO,” she said.

“I have written to all departments to ensure the guidelines are followed. In some cases, the complaints are not taken up seriously as members are from the department concerned,” she said.

On senior women officers terming the recent guidelines issued by the PWC as regressive, the chairperson said though she had largely reiterated the Centre’s guidelines, she was open to suggestions from the aggrieved officers. 

What the guidelines say...

  • The complaint committee should be headed by a woman and not less than half of its member should be women.
  • To prevent the possibility of any undue pressure or influence from higher levels, such committee should involve a third party, either an NGO or any other body familiar with the issue of sexual harassment.
  • The committee must make an annual report to the department concerned of the complaints and action taken by them.

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