The group has been asked to examine and fine-tune the draft Bill by the 20th of this month.
Way back in 1997 the Supreme Court had laid the guidelines for protecting women from sexual harassment at workplace, but no law could be formulated till date.
The group will be chaired by additional secretary in the Ministry and it will have representatives from the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Health and Family Welfare, Railways, Information & Broadcasting, Home Affairs, Labour and Employment, Department of Personnel, Planning Commission, Law and Justice, Department of Post. Member Secretary, National Commission for Women(NCW), will also be member of the group.
The WCD Ministry in consultation with the NCW and other stake holders, has prepared a draft Bill, which seeks to cover the students, research scholars and those working in unorganised sector.
Women’s groups have already made a number of recommendations to widen the ambit of the Bill in an attempt to give it more teeth.
The changes suggested by Women Power Connect (WPC), a conglomerate of women’s groups, aim to make the legislation gender-neutral, bring sex-based discrimination under its ambit and expand the definition of sexual harassment to include, among other things, the long-term impact of a single incident of humiliating sexual commentary.
The “Protection of Women Against Sexual Harassment at the Workplace Bill, 2007,” was put up on the website of the Ministry for public comment and discussion way back in March 31, 2007.