Trauma behind each voice, says Maneka Gandhi; wants panel for #MeToo cases

The proposed committee with senior judicial and legal persons will look into all issues emanating from the MeToo movement.

india Updated: Oct 12, 2018 19:25 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
#MeToo,metoo,maneka gandhi
Union minister of Women and Child Development Maneka Gandhi (Sonu Mehta/ HT File Photo)

The minister of women and child development Maneka Gandhi on Friday said that the ministry will set up a committee to examine all issues emanating from the ‘#Metoo’ movement.

“I believe in the pain and trauma behind every single complaint. Cases of sexual harassment at work must be dealt with a policy of zero tolerance,” Gandhi said on Friday.

The committee will look into the legal and institutional framework which is in place for handling complaints of sexual harassment at work and advise the ministry on how to strengthen these frameworks.

The Ministry will be setting up a committee of senior judicial and legal persons as members to examine all issues emanating from the ‘#MeTooIndia’ movement.

“The plan is in an infant stage yet the idea, the guidelines, the norms etc,. have to be set up. The idea has just been floated and is being considered by the ministry. More details will be divulged by next week,” a senior official at the ministry said.

In an official statement Gandhi said that in order to ensure harassment-free workplaces covering all (all ages, full-time, part-time, public and private sector, organised or unorganised sectors etc., including domestic workers, students, apprentices, and even the women visiting an office), the government has put in place an effective legal and institutional framework in place through the ‘The sexual harassment at women at workplace (prevention, prohibition and redressal) Act’2013.

“ I congratulate the ministry of women and child development on this decision. This is an amazing decision. I do hope women come forward in large numbers with their testimonies,” Said senior advocate Indira Jaising.

This comes in the backdrop of an outpour of sexual harassment cases being spoken about by women on social media as part of the ‘#MeToo’ movement.

“I want workplaces to be made more conducive to women employees, Internal Complaints Committee as required by the statute to be setup, more functional trustworthy systems to be put in place and compliance reported in public domain. Investigations into complaints should be carried out swiftly in a free and fair manner,” Gandhi said.

The minister also said that the ministry had set up a dedicated online portal “She-Box” where women can report grievances pertaining to sexual harassment.

Aggrieved women can also mail the ministry or tweet to them with ‘#HelpMeWCD’, and the complaints will be taken up with the authorities concerned.

“I urge working women across all sectors to come out fearlessly and report cases of any form of sexual harassment and we shall ensure all possible assistance,” Gandhi added.

First Published: Oct 12, 2018 15:30 IST