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#MeToo may change existing law for Sexual Harassment of Women

Saima Siddiqui

Saima SiddiquiBy Saima Siddiqui

Published on 25 Oct 2018 11:26 AM GMT

#MeToo may change existing law for Sexual Harassment of Women
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New Delhi: Immediately after Union Minister MJ Akbar's resignation from his post in relation to #MeToo movement, the center has constituted a four member Group of Ministers.

Home Minister Rajnath Singh, road transport Minister Nitin Gadkari, defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman and women and child development minister Maneka Gandhi are appointed to suggest ways to improve on existing act of Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal), 2013.

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Some highly anticipated measures to eradicate sexual harassment at work place which may do away with the current faults in the existing act of 2013, are:

The existing law on sexual harassment at workplace allows victim to report such incidents within a time limit of 3 months, in some cases it goes up to 6 months with the internal complaints committee (ICC) of the company.

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However, through the latest online trend of #MeToo campaign people are coming out in open to report sexual harassment cases, some of which are several decades old.

Such cases may attract GoM attention to amend the existing act by removing the time limit for reporting of such cases.

It has become very normal over a period of time to consider that only women can fall victim of sexual harassment, may be that is why current law does not cover men and transgenders. A new law may treat every gender equal and protect men and transgender's rights as well.

Though it is mandatory in India for any establishment consists of 10 or more employees to establish an ICC, many companies don't have such establishment.

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The law imposes penalty of Rs 50,000 on companies who don't have ICC departments. Increase in penalty may force companies to properly follow law and establish such departments in their offices.

The ICC is given 3 months period under current law to investigate and make a decision upon receiving a complaint, after which the employer has 2 months to act on the decision and a time limit of 3 months to appeal against the decision. Making it hard for many victims to pursue a complaint.

Saima Siddiqui

Saima Siddiqui

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