Sexual harassment bill to cover domestic help | delhi | Hindustan Times
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Sexual harassment bill to cover domestic help

In a move that will benefit about 47.5 lakh women registered as domestic workers in India, the Women and Child Development (WCD) ministry has decided to include them under the Protection of Women against Sexual Harassment at Workplace Bill, 2010. Moushumi Das Gupta reports.

delhi Updated: Mar 19, 2012 00:47 IST
Moushumi Das Gupta

In a move that will benefit about 47.5 lakh women registered as domestic workers in India, the Women and Child Development (WCD) ministry has decided to include them under the Protection of Women against Sexual Harassment at Workplace Bill, 2010.



The original bill, introduced in Lok Sabha in 2010 did not include domestic workers under its ambit. http://www.hindustantimes.com/Images/Popup/2012/3/19_03_12-pg8c.jpg

"We have circulated a draft cabinet note seeking official amendment to the Protection of Women against Sexual Harassment at Workplace Bill. After the cabinet nod, we intend to bring the amended bill in the budget session of Parliament," said a ministry official.

The bill ensures a safe environment for women at workplace — be it public or private, organised or the unorganised sector.

Ministry officials said inclusion of domestic workers will allow them access to an efficient redressal mechanism as mandated under the bill, which presently they do not have.

The bill mandates setting up of Local Complaints Committee (LCC) at district level where a victim of sexual harassment can lodge complaint. It will then be the committee's responsibility to look into the complaints and take action. "The ministry has now proposed to cast the responsibility on the LCC to receive complaints from domestic worker," said an official.

The ministry had earlier kept domestic workers out of the proposed law on the grounds that it will be practically difficult to enforce the provisions of the law within the confines of a home.

This despite the Parliamentary standing committee on HRD, which examined the bill after it was referred to it in 2010, recommending the inclusion of domestic workers under the proposed legislation. The panel had submitted its report in December last year.

The bill provides protection not only to women who are employed but also to any woman who enters the workplace as a client, customer, apprentice, and daily wage worker or in ad-hoc capacity. Students, research scholars in colleges and universities and patients in hospitals have also been covered.