Standing orders made mandatory for IT, BT firms

The exemption granted to information and biotechnology (IT and BT) companies from standing orders on harassment of employees under the Industrial Act, 1946 has been withdrawn.

Karnataka State Women’s Commission chairperson C Manjula said here on Tuesday that a survey found that services of women employees in IT companies were being terminated on flimsy grounds, without giving an opportunity to defend themselves. Taking note of the findings, the Commission had recommended the government to bring the IT firms under the purview of standing orders to check the harassment of women employees, she said.

“Being a monitoring body, the Commission has no statutory authority to punish those found guilty of harassing women. Hence we have sought more powers,” Manjula said.

Referring to the alleged harassment of Sarita, a research scholar, by a professor in University of Mysore, Manjula said certain lacunae in the Karnataka State Universities Act, 2000, allow the Syndicate to circumvent legal provisions and shield the guilty.

 The Syndicate, a penal authority under the Act, was divided on punishing the accused professor. It also overruled the recommendations of the Commission, Manjula said.

According to a survey, Manjula said, domestic violence, love affair and academic pressure were the principal reasons driving women to run away from home. She termed honour killings in Mandya, Mysore and Ramanagar districts as a new phenomenon in the State.

On the allegations that she had been inactive as the chairperson of the Commission, Manjula said a section of the people was engaged in a false propaganda against her for cheap publicity. She said she had not restricted herself to Bangalore but had been touring the State.

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