Parliament doesn’t have panel to check sexual harassment yet | india | Hindustan Times
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Parliament doesn’t have panel to check sexual harassment yet

If Rajya Sabha deputy chairman PJ Kurien agrees to a suggestion made by BSP member Satish Chandra Misra in the Upper House on Tuesday, a Parliamentary committee to address sexual harassment related grievance of our parliamentarians might soon come into existence.

india Updated: Mar 17, 2015 23:59 IST
Moushumi Das Gupta

If Rajya Sabha deputy chairman PJ Kurien agrees to a suggestion made by BSP member Satish Chandra Misra in the Upper House on Tuesday, a Parliamentary committee to address sexual harassment related grievance of our parliamentarians might soon come into existence.

Such a committee is mandated under the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013.

The issue came up in Rajya Sabha during a discussion on working of the women and child development (WCD) ministry. As WCD minister, Maneka Gandhi informed the House that the government has not been very successful in implementing the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace Act, Bahujan Samaj Party MP Satish Chandra Misra asked, “… what about constituting a committee by the Parliament? This is I think most necessary now.”

Naresh Gujral, Akali Dal MP quipped that Gandhi was “sitting at the right place to do that.”

Gandhi replied that though she was all ready for a committee and “it has to be done” but it was not for her to decide. “Now that you have brought it up, it is really for the Speaker and the Chairman to constitute a committee. A lot of staff works here.”

But Misra persisted, Quoting Article 51 A, that provides for renouncing practices derogatory to the dignity of women, the senior BSP leader said that “we need something in this House.”

With Misra not relenting, Rajya Sabha deputy speaker PJ Kurien assured the house that the “suggestion will be examined.”

The Parliament had in February 2013 cleared the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 that mandates all organisations, both in the government and private sector, having more than 10 employees, should set up an internal complaints committee to handle sexual harassment related grievances within 90 days or face penalty.

But, its implementation has remained unsatisfactory. “Most of the government and certainly 90% of the private sector have still not got the sexual harassment committees. We are trying to find a way in which we can make them do this” Gandhi informed the House.