NAC for covering domestic workers in anti-harassment bill

Voicing concern over the exclusion of domestic workers from the purview of the Protection of Women against Sexual Harassment at Workplace Bill, 2010, the NAC sought amendments to certain clauses of the draft legislation.

Women domestic workers were not included within the ambit of the bill, which was tabled in Parliament last month.

The government contended that as domestic workers were in the non-formal sector, it was difficult to bring them within the scope of the bill.

A section of the NAC members strongly favoured inclusion of domestic workers under the purview of the bill.The NAC also decided to ask the government to drop a clause in the bill that they felt could prevent women from coming forward to seek protection against sexual harassment at workplace.

"The safeguards provided to them (women) by this bill are weakened by the inclusion of clause 14 (punishment for false or malicious complaint and false evidence), which might deter victims from seeking protection of the proposed legislation," the NAC said in a statement.

"NAC therefore recommended extending protection of the proposed legislation to domestic workers; and removal of clause 14 from the proposed legislation," it added.

The NAC also decided to constitute a Working Group of its members to evolve an integrated and holistic approach to provide safeguards and security to domestic workers.

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