Panel On Workplace Sexual Harassment Reconstituted, Home Minister Amit Shah To Head It
The government has reconstituted the panel to prevent workplace sexual harassment, days after a report by The Quint revealed that the committee which was formed in October 2018 had been dissolved.
The new panel includes Women and Child Development Minister Smriti Irani, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and HRD Minister Ramesh Pokhiriyal. It will be headed by Home Minister Amit Shah. The group of ministers will also be given support from the Home Ministry.
With the constitution of the new government post-elections, the GoM undertook consultations with stakeholders and was examining various suggestions received, The Hindu reported.
According to the Vishaka guidelines and the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 which mandates the panel to take action against sexual harassment at the workplace, the committee must be chaired by a woman, consist of at least two women members and have an external member from a non-governmental organisations working on women’s issues.
“The group of ministers was set up on July 18 since the previous panel lapsed ahead of the formation of the new government,” spokesman Shelat Harit Ketan told NDTV.
The previous panel was set up after the #MeToo Movement triggered a row in the country and former junior Foreign Minister M J Akbar and Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi among many others were accused of sexual misconduct.
According to an official press release, the panel will suggest action required for effective implementation of the existing provisions as well as for strengthening the current legal framework for addressing issues related to workplace sexual harassment. “Once a complaint is submitted to the She-Box, it will be directly sent to the concerned authority having jurisdiction to take action in the matter,” a statement released by the government read.
The panel is also expected to examine the existing provisions, within three months of its constitution, for women’s safety and further recommend suitable measures to make them more efficient and effective.
Why is Amit Shah heading this despite women being present on the panel? https://t.co/6O3NegBEn4
— #MeTooIndia (@IndiaMeToo) July 24, 2019
Opposition Congress lawmaker Sushmita Dev referred to the government’s decision as a knee-jerk reaction to criticism of its failure to reveal the findings of the earlier panel.