Saturday, October 20, 2018

The #MeToo Movement and the Law relating to Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace in India

The #MeToo movement  began in India after actress Tanushree Dutta accused actor Nana Pateker for misbehaving with her during the shooting of a film. It was in the late of September this year. Since then a number of women has came out to join the #MeToo movement by publicly sharing their me too stories of sexual harassment.

The #MeToo movement is a movement against sexual harassment specially in the workplae. The #MeToo hastag become viral on social media a year ago but the actual #MeToo movement started a decade ago. Tarana Burke an activist started the #MeToo movement in the year 2006 as a voice for black women survivors of sexual harassments.

And then on 15th October 2017, actress Alyssa Milano twitted "If you've been sexually harassed or assaulted write 'Me Too' as a reply to this tweet." 
In reply to this tweet,  thousands of women shared their me too stories.

As the #MeToo movement in India continued to grow day by day, let's have a look at the legal provisions on sexual harassment of women at workplace in India.

Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act,  2013 is an Act to provide protection against sexual harassment of women at the place of work. Sexual harassment is termed as a violation of fundamental right of an woman to equality under article 14 and 15 of the constitution of India, and the right to life and to live with dignity under article 21.

What is sexual harassment?

Sexual harassment includes any unwelcome acts or behavior like physical contact or advances,  demand or request for sexual favours, making sexually coloured remarks,  showing pornography or any other unwelcome physical,  verbal or non-verbal conduct of sexual nature .

Internal Complaints Committee 

The Act makes it mendatory for every employer to constitute an Internal Complaints Committee which entertains the complaints made by any aggrieved woman. The members of the committee are to be nominated by the employer and should consists of a presiding officer and at least two members from amongst the employee preferably committed to the cause of women or who have experience in social work or have legal knowledge. One more member from amongst non-governmental organisations or associations committed to the cause of women.  In order to ensure participation of women employees the Internal Complaints Committee proceedings,  the Act requirs that at least one-half of the members of the committee nominated by employer are women.

How to file a complaint? 

According to this Act,  a complaint on sexual harassment on the workplace must be made by the aggrieved woman within a period of three months from the date of occurrence of an incident and in case of a series of incidents, within a period of three months from the date of occurrence of the last incident.

The compliment must be in written either by post or in person submitted to the Internal Complaints Committee.

However the Internal Committee has the power to extend the time limit for complaining if it is satisfied that the circumstances were such which prevented the employee from filing a complaint within the period of three months .

If an aggrieved woman is unable to file a complaint due to her physical or mental incapacity , on behalf of her,  a complaint can be filed either by her relative or friend,  a special educator,  a qualified psychiatrist or psychologist,  the guardian or authority under whose she is receiving treatment or care.

In case of the death of such woman,  a complaint can be filled by her legal heir.

1 comment:

  1. Liked your blog, and this post. You write on important social issues , which is so cool! Keep it up.