PREVENTION OF SEXUAL HARASSMENT AT WORKPLACE
• The Government of India has enacted ‘the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013’ (SH Act) with the aim to provide safe and secure work environment to women.
• The Act is applicable to all women irrespective of their age or employment status, working in organised or unorganised sector.
• The Act casts an obligation upon all States to constitute Local Committees (LCs) in every district to receive complaints from organizations having less than 10 workers or if the complaint is against employer himself, for receiving complaints of sexual harassment at workplace.
• The responsibility of implementation of the Act at State and District levels rests with the appropriate Government i.e. the respective State Governments in respect of all workplaces, which are established, owned, controlled or wholly or substantially financed by funds provided directly or indirectly by the State and any other workplace falling within its territory.
• They are responsible for monitoring the implementation of the Act and maintaining the data on the number of cases filed and disposed of.
• The data of State/ UT/ district-wise details of number of cases of sexual harassment filed and resolved is not maintained centrally.
• However, the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) compiles data regarding sexual harassment in work/ oﬃce premises (Section 354A of IPC) since 2017 in its publication namely ‘Crime in India’. The published report is available till the year 2020
• The Act casts an obligation upon every employer to create an environment which is free from sexual harassment.
• For the purpose, employers are required to organize workshops, orientation and awareness programmes at regular intervals for sensitizing the employees and towards building the capacity of Internal Committee (IC) members around the provision of this legislation and display at any conspicuous place notice regarding the constitution of Internal Committee and penal consequences of sexual harassment etc.
• To ensure effective implementation of the Act, a handbook and a training module have been developed.
• In addition, Ministry of Women and Child Development, from time to time, has issued advisories to all State Governments/ UT Administrations, Ministries/ Departments of Government of India and business associations/ chambers to ensure effective implementation of the Act.