Asking the Home Ministry to devise an effective mechanism to deal with cases of sexual harassment in paramilitary forces, a Parliamentary panel has expressed "surprise" over the practice of officers' wives judging such complaints lodged by women employees in BSF.
"The committee is surprised to note that in some of these forces, especially BSF, wives of officers listen to grievances of women employees which can never be unbiased or impartial corrective measure as there have been cases where women employees were harassed by their seniors and the wives of senior officers sat on the judgement," the panel said.
The 33-page report of the Committee on Empowerment of Women on 'Women in Paramilitary Forces' was presented in both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha today. The committee has recommended that the practice of hearing such cases by wives of senior officers should be "dispensed with immediately" as it can never be impartial.
It also observed that in some of the paramilitary forces women NGO members were included in the sexual harassment committees. "The committee is of the firm opinion that a woman NGO must be invariably included in these committees to avoid intimidation of women victims by the male officers," the report said.
The panel, headed by Chandresh Kumari, asked the Union Home Ministry to devise a "strict monitoring mechanism" to look into cases of sexual harassment in paramilitary forces. It also laid down a six-month timeline for completion of inquiry into such complaints.