Sexual Harassment Bill Criticized

More egg on the face of the WCD.  The morons in the ministry botched the drafting of the law. Here is the full story:

I pulled this from the Indian Exress. The link is no longer displaying the news article.

Saturday August 18, 01:52 AM

While Women and Development Minister Renuka Chowdhury announced to the delegates at a women’s conference in the capital that the Bill against Sexual Harassment at the Workplace 2007 would be tabled before Parliament this session, the delegates spent Friday afternoon trashing the “loosely drafted” Bill and the “glaring loopholes” in it.Justice J S Verma, who penned the Vishakha judgment (the still extant Supreme Court guidelines for prevention of sexual harassment in the workplace), also “severely criticised” the Bill for its vague and loose definitions.

“Its been exactly a decade since the judgment was passed on August 13, 1997, but the present Bill does not seem to have improved upon it any way,” he said, adding that the Bill of this nature should stress on prevention rather than punishment.

Inaugurating the second annual convention of Women Power Connect, a national organisation of women’s groups, Chowdhury said the best was being done to push through 33 per cent women’s reservation in Parliament.

Delegates stressed the need for the sexual harassment Bill to explicitly state several criteria, for instance who appoints the crucial Complaints Committee, which decides on the complaints before it.

“As of now, less than 40 per cent of Government organisations have constituted the mandatory Complaint Committee,” said Ranjana Kumari, President of Women Power Connect.

Displeased with the lack of implementation of the mechanisms for sexual harassment, Justice Verma said it was imperative that any new legislation should also include a “monitoring mechanism” to check on the constitution and functioning of the Complaint Committees.

Underlining the experiences of working with sexual harassment cells in corporates and PSUs, Soma Sen Gupta of SANHITA, said more than half the complaints that were submitted to the committees were rejected by the “pre-liminary inquiry”. ” The new legislation has to ensure that such means cannot be adopted to deny women justice.”

Concluding the session, lawyer Priyea Narula said, “With the Bill in its present form, most women will not have the confidence of raising their voice against harassment at the workplace. The Bill has to incorporate these suggestions before it is passed and takes final shape.”

Please pass this Bill in its present form !!


2 Responses to “Sexual Harassment Bill Criticized”

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Some Interesting Stats On Arrests Of Women

In 1930, the British govt arrested 17,000 women for their involvement in the Dandi Yatra (Salt March). During 1937 to 1947 (10 Years), they arrested 5,000 women involved in the freedom struggle. From 2004 to 2006, the govt of India arrested 90,000 women of all ages under 498A. On the average, 27,000 women per year are being arrested under this flawed law. These are stats from the NCRB.

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The family of the writer was tortured by the Indian Police in an attempt to extort over a $100,000 by holding them in custody for over a week. The police, in cahoots with the magistrate and the PP, did this due to the ridiculous allegations made in a 498A case by his embittered ex-wife. She filed the case years after he and his family had last seen her. Thousands of 498A cases are filed each year in India by women seeking to wreak vengeance on their husbands and in-laws. Enormous sums are extorted from intimidated families implicated in these cases by corrupt Indian police officers and elements of the Indian judiciary. The author and his family haven't bribed any public official nor have they given in to the extortion. This blog aims to raise awareness of due process in India. The content of this blog constitutes, opinions, observations, and publicly available documents. The intent is not to slander or defame anyone or any institution and is the manifestation of the author's right to freedom of expression – with all the protections this right guarantees.

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August 2007

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