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Thursday, October 27, 2016

Inadequate implementation of Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013


Press Information Bureau
Government of India
Ministry of Women and Child Development

26-October-2016 18:15 IST

Smt. Maneka Sanjay Gandhi expresses concern at the inadequate implementation of Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 

WCD Ministry to set up Inter-Ministerial Committee and an e-platform for effective redressal of complaints of sexual harassment at workplace 


The Minister of Women and Child Development, Smt. Maneka Sanjay Gandhi held a review meeting on implementation of the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 in New Delhi today. Officials from the WCD Ministry, DoPT, Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports, Ministry of Home Affairs, Ministry of Railways and Department of Financial Services were present. Smt. Maneka Sanjay Gandhi expressed her concern that the complaints of sexual harassment are not being handled in a timely as well as sensitive manner. She also expressed her concern that harassment often continues over a period of time and it is only after it becomes unbearable that a woman comes out to complain. In such situations, it is the duty of Internal Complaints Committee to decide on the complaint in the shortest possible time. The Minister also pointed out that the transfer of the aggressor can never be a solution to such a complaint and there should be harsher punishments when the complaint is found to be true.

2. After extensive deliberations, the following decisions were taken:


(i) The Ministry of WCD will set up an inter-ministerial committee headed by a senior official of the WCD Ministry. This committee will review the progress of disposal of complaints of sexual harassment, get a standardized training module prepared in collaboration with ISTM, ensure that heads of Internal Complaints Committee of all ministries/departments are given training on how to handle the complaints.

(ii) The ministry will be establishing a secure electronic platform for any woman employee of the government to file a complaint under the Act directly to the Ministry of WCD. These complaints will be then taken up with the respective ministries/ departments. This will enable a monitorable and transparent system of grievance redressal under the Act.

(iii) All ministries/ departments will furnish a monthly report to WCD ministry on the number of complaints received, disposed, pending and action taken etc.

(iv) All ministries/ departments and attached offices will furnish the annual statistics of complaints received and disposed under the Act in their Annual Reports. It was also decided that the inter ministerial committee will create a panel of resource persons from which ICCs can take the external members. In another important decision taken at the meeting today, all the training programmes of all services will have a module on the Act and DoPT will issue necessary instructions for this.

(v) It was also decided that the respective cadre controlling authority will keep every complainant under observation for a period of five years so that she is not subjected to any further administrative harassment as a result of her having complained against a male superior.

(vi) It was agreed that the Act, the rights of a woman official and the responsibility of the ICC must be given adequate publicity through different methods including the websites of the ministries/ departments/ attached offices.

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