Judges' panel to look into #MeToo complaints

Director Sajid Khan was accused of sexual harassment by four women.

The Women and Child Development (WCD) Ministry has proposed to set up a committee comprising four retired judges and an eminent lawyer to hear complaints of sexual harassment that have surfaced in the raging #MeToo movement.

The proposed committee will also examine the existing legal and institutional framework which is in place for handling complaints of sexual harassment, “including some of the complaints, if required, and advise the ministry on how to strengthen these frameworks”.

“A committee of four retired judges and a lawyer will conduct independent hearing into the complaints and make their recommendations. We are in talks with the judges since yesterday (Thursday),” WCD Minister Maneka Gandhi announced in an interview to DD News on Friday.

Verma panel

 

The proposed judges’ panel will hear complaints of harassment like the Justice Verma committee did after the December 16 Delhi gang-rape incident, Maneka Gandhi said.

A notification on the constitution of the proposed committee is expected to come “in a day or two,” a ministry official indicated.

On December 23, 2012, a three-member committee headed by Justice J S Verma, former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, was constituted to review criminal law and recommend amendments to them in the wake of a nationwide outcry over the gang-rape and murder of a 23-year-old in Delhi on December 16, 2012.

Maneka remained silent on the allegations against her ministerial colleague.

“I urge working women across all sectors to come out fearlessly and report cases of any form of sexual harassment and we shall ensure all possible assistance,” she tweeted later.

Tata Motors hit

Meanwhile, the #MeToo campaign hit India’s corporate sector as well, with Tata Motors corporate communications head Suresh Rangarajan’s name surfacing.

In a tweet, a former colleague levelled sexual harassment charges against Rangarajan, who has previously worked in Vodafone, Nissan Motors and Niira Radia’s Vaishnavi Communications. He has been asked by the company to proceed on leave.

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Judges' panel to look into #MeToo complaints

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