4-member panel to look into sexual harassment of Maharashtra prison staffUpdated: Sep 07, 2017 15:51 IST
The Maharashtra prisons department recently reconstituted a four-member committee to probe complaints of sexual harassment of staff at workplace.
The committee, formed according to the provisions of the sexual harassment of women at workplace (Prevention, prohibition and redressal) Act 2013, has deputy inspector general of prisons Swati Sathe as its head and a social worker as its member. Three of the four members are women.
According to an officer from the department, after speaking to the complainant, the committee will seek response from the department concerned. After a basic inquiry, the committee can recommend course of action the government can take.
The aim is to empower women to speak their mind before the members of the committee and ensure a fair probe.
“The complaint has been formed and is fully functional,” said BK Upadhay, additional director general of prisons.
Maharashtra has nine central prisons, 31 district prisons, 13 open prisons, 1 open colony and 172 sub-jails. There are two separate prisons for women – at Pune and Mumbai each. There are two open prisons for women – at Pune and Akola. The Maharashtra prison department has its headquarters in Pune and the state training centre is at Yerawada, Pune.
In the past, there have been several complaints of harassment in prisons.
In September 2016, the state government suspended a jail superintendent for alleged sexual harassment of a woman constable. A probe has also been ordered against the superintendent and the enquiry is underway.
Seventeen trainees in Pune had accused the same officer of sexual harassment in 2012. With the inquiry leading to substantial evidence, the officer was suspended for 18 months. The case is pending with Maharashtra Administrative Tribunal.