Saturday, December 22, 2012

Can govt prevent crimes like Delhi rape; FAQs on sexual harassment in offices

THE recent horrific gang rape in Delhi is a reflection of how women are being treated in our families and in society, say experts. Home secretary RK Singh’s spirited press conference on Friday is a welcome step, but can government alone bring a solution to this deep-rooted menace? The reality is, the cases of sexual harassment within government offices are often spotted, complained and investigated. Here are some frequently asked questions and their answers on sexual harassment of women in government offices:
1) Any rule for prohibition of sexual harassment of working woman?Yes. Rule 3-C of CCS (Conduct) Rules, 1964 prohibits sexual harassment of any woman at her workplace.
2) What’s sexual harassment?For the purpose of this Rule, “sexual harassment” includes such unwelcomed sexually determined behaviour whether directly or otherwise, as —
(a) physical contact and advances;
(b) demand or request for sexual favours ;
(c) sexually coloured remarks;
(d) showing any pornography; or
(e) any other unwelcome physical, verbal or non-verbal
conduct of a sexual nature.
3. Any guidelines to be maintained to deal with cases of sexual harassment in working place?The Supreme Court has laid down guidelines and norms in this matter in the case of Vishakha Vs. State of Rajasthan (Jt. 1997(7) SC 384). As per above guidelines, there should be a Complaints Committee, a special Counsellor or other support service including maintenance of confidentiality. (DOPT’s Office Memorandum dated July 21, 2009 and August 7, 2009)
4. What’s the composition of Complaints Committee?The Complaints Committee should be headed by a woman and not less than half of its Members should be women. Further, to prevent the possibility of any undue pressure or influence from senior levels, such Complaints Committee should involve a third party, either NGO or other body who is familiar with the issue of sexual harassment. (DOPT’s O.M. dated February 13, 1998)
5. What will be the rank of the Chairperson of the Committee?The Committee should be headed by an officer sufficiently higher in rank so as to lend credibility to the investigations. (DOPT’s O.M. dated July 13, 1999)
6. What about complaints against senior level officers?For inquiring into complaints made against officers of the level of secretary, additional secretary and equivalent level of Government of India, a separate Complaints Committee has been set up by the Cabinet Secretariat with the approval of the Prime Minister. (DOPT’s O.M. No. 11013/3/2009, dated February 2, 2009)
7. Is there any charge-sheet in such cases?The Complaint forwarded by the DA to the Complaint Committee is treated as charge-sheet. Specific charge-sheet may also be made on the basis of complaints.
8. Whether copy of the report should be given to the charged officer/complainant?Yes, may be given.
9. Whether any special leave or transfer is to be granted to the complainant if such request is made by her?As per the existing Leave Rules, there is no special type of leaves that can be granted to the aggrieved woman. However, she can be granted any kind of regular leave that is admissible to her under the provisions of CCS (Leave) Rules, 1972 (as amended from time to time). The victims of sexual harassment should have the option to seek transfer of the perpetrator or their own transfer. (DOPT’s O.M. No 11013/10/97, dated February 13,1998)

1 comment:

  1. The problem is with our society. But the government needs to place strict rules, and implement those in true spirits