The Department of Personnel and Training recently issued fresh guidelines regarding sexual harassment of women at workplace. As per the new guidelines, the enquiry of such cases must be completed within 30 days and under any circumstances within 90 days from the date of the complaint. In addition, all ministries have to submit a monthly progress report to the Ministry of Women and Child Development so that the progress can be monitored.
The new guidelines assert that the ministries and departments will have to keep a watch on the complainant so as to ensure that she is not victimised in any manner because of her having filed the complaint. As per the guidelines the aggrieved woman has been given further option to send representation to the Secretary or head of the organisation in case she feels that she is being victimised because of her complaint. The concerned authority will be required to dispose of this complaint within 15 days.
Besides, brief details of the implementation of the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace Act including the number of cases received and disposed shall form a part of the Annual Report of all ministries and departments.
The Minister for Women and Child Development, Maneka Gandhi, had held a review meeting on implementation of Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 on October 26. During the meeting, some cases of sexual harassment pending with certain ministries and departments were also examined. On the basis of the discussions, it was decided that DoPT will issue fresh instructions so that some of the issues can be suitably addressed. "On the basis of the decisions taken, DoPT has issued fresh guidelines regarding Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace on December 22," a statement issued by the WCD ministry declared.
Gandhi also said that she will be holding further consultations to see if there are any other areas which need to be looked into. "The WCD Ministry will be coming out with a comprehensive plan to train the heads of Internal Complaint Committee under the Central Government Ministries/ Departments," she added.