Indian parliament passes bill to protect women from sexual harassment at workplace
The Indian parliament Monday passed a bill which seeks to protect women, including hundreds of thousands employed as domestic workers, from sexual harassment at the workplace.
The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Bill, 2010, piloted by Women and Child Development Minister Krishna Tirath, was passed by Lok Sabha without discussion amid uproar with Bharatiya Janata Party members storming the well, Press Trust of India (PTI) said.
Under the Act, the sexual harassment includes any one or more of unwelcome acts or behaviour such as physical contact and advances, a demand or request for sexual favours or making sexually coloured remarks or showing pornography.
The acts or behaviour whether directly or by implication, include any other unwelcome physical, verbal or non-verbal conduct of sexual nature. Non-compliance with the provisions of the Act shall be punishable with a fine of up to Rs 50,000, PTI said.
Repeated violations may lead to higher penalties and cancellation of licence or registration to conduct business. The Act defines domestic worker as a woman employed to do household work in any household for remuneration whether in cash or kind, either directly or through any agency on temporary, permanent, part-time or full-time basis, but does not include any member of the family of the employer.
A Parliamentary Standing Committee, which had examined the Bill, had held the firm view that preventive aspects reflected in it has to be strictly in line with the Supreme Court guidelines in the 1997 Vishaka case.
The apex court's judgment in the case not only defines sexual harassment at workplace but also lays down guidelines for its prevention and disciplinary action.
The Bill makes it mandatory that all offices, hospitals, institutions and other workplaces should have an internal redressal mechanism for complaints related to sexual harassment. nepalnews.com