Govt forms panel to look into sexual harassment cases

Shelving the Women and Child Development (WCD) Ministry's proposal of constituting a committee comprising retired judges and an eminent lawyer to take up matters concerning sexual harassment, the government on Wednesday constituted a group of ministers (GoM) instead.

The Centre on Wednesday constituted a group of ministers (GoM) to examine the existing legal and institutional frameworks for dealing with matters of sexual harassment of women at workplace.

The four-member GoM, to be headed by Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, will recommend action required for the effective implementation of the existing provisions for addressing “issues pertaining to sexual harassment at workplace," the government said in statement. It will also seek to strengthen the existing legal and institutional frameworks related to the matter, the government stated.

The high level panel — comprising Union Ministers Nitin Gadkari, Nirmala Sitharaman and Maneka Gandhi as members — will come up with its recommendations on the issue within three months, it added.

This comes days after the Women and Child Development (WCD) Ministry under Maneka proposed to set up a committee comprising four retired judges and an eminent lawyer for hearing the complaints of sexual harassment of women amid the raging 'MeToo' movement.

The WCD ministry on October 12 had proposed to constitute the said committee to undertake same task as now assigned to the GoM under the home minister.

The constitution of the GoM by the government indicated that the WCD ministry's proposal in this regard has been shelved.

The WCD minister welcomed the government's decision to set up a GoM to address the issues pertaining to sexual harassment of working women, saying, “this is in tune with the ministry’s mission for a safe and conducive work environment for women.”

“The government is committed to ensure the safety and dignity of women in the workforce,” the home ministry said in its statement.

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Govt forms panel to look into sexual harassment cases

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