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Remove ‘conciliation’ from sex harassment law: NCW

September 21, 2019 06:07 AM


Remove ‘conciliation’ from sex harassment law: NCW

New Delhi:

The National Commission for Women has recommended that the definition of “sexual harassment” in the law be expanded to include “gender-based cyber crimes with sexual connotations” committed against women employees in their workplace.

In its report to the ministry of women and child development, NCW has also suggested that limit of three months for filing a complaint be enhanced to six months and the provision for “conciliation” be removed from law as sexual harassment is not a dispute that can be resolved through conciliatory mechanisms.

NCW has also called for amendments to provisions of the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace Act 2013 to make sexual harassment a criminal offence and provide for imprisonment ranging from 1 to 3 years with fines or both. It has sought registration of complaints section 354 A of IPC that was included in IPC after the Criminal Amendment Act 2013. Currently, complaints can be registered under section 509 of IPC which lays down simple imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year, or with fine, or with both.

The NCW had set-off the review process of the existing law in the backdrop of the #MeToo India movement. It has also been sought that appeal before the internal committee should be disposed off in a time-bound manner of not more than 60 days.

To bring in transparency in the IC it is recommended that it should be elected instead of the opaque process of nomination. It also suggests that it is important to fix the responsibility of the employer by mandating them to ensure that anti-sexual harassment measures are adhered to very strictly. The NCW is hopeful that the recommendations will be considered by the Group of Ministers on Sexual Harassment which met earlier this week for the first time since its reconstitution after the LS polls.

NCW chief Rekha Sharma said the final report with recommendations for changes in the law and the suggestions that came through in the consultations were submitted in the last week of July to the WCD ministry. NCW has flagged that participants in the regional deliberations felt there was a need to make a clear differentiation between sexual harassment and sex based discrimination at the workplace

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