No ‘complaints committee’ in govt office on sexual harassment in JK

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Jammu: There are no local ‘complaints committee’ in deputy commissioner offices and administrative secretaries too have not constituted the internal complaints committee to prevent sexual harassment of women at workplace in Jammu and Kashmir.
The government has also taken no steps to extend the provisions of sexual harassment of women at work place (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act 2013, according to a report by state’s Social Welfare Department.
 “After perusal of the compliance report, petitioner submits that the District Officers have pointed out deficiencies in the report on behalf of the Social Welfare Department and as per the District Officers—the Deputy Commissioners have not constituted the Local Complaints Committee,” a division bench of the high court comprising Justice Alok Aradhe and Justice Sanjeev Kumar said during the hearing of a Public Interest Litigation filed by one Raheshwari Katoch, seeking implementation of the Act.
The administrative departments, HC observed, have not constituted the internal complaints
Committee and no steps have been taken to extend the provisions of the Act to private sector as well.
“We deem it appropriate to direct the impleadment of Secretary, General Administrative Department (GAD), Divisional Commissioner, Jammu and the Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir as respondent Nos. 3 to 5,” the court said and issued a notice to them returnable within four weeks.
Last year, Department of Personnel and Training, government of India, issued guidelines regarding harassment of women at workplace and it said that brief details of the implementation of the Act including the number of cases received and disposed shall form a part of the Annual Report of all ministries, departments and authorities.
The enquiry of cases must be completed within 30 days and under any circumstances within 90 days from the date of the complaint.
The ministries and departments etc. have to keep a watch on the complainant so as to ensure that a woman is not victimized in any manner because of her having filed the complaint. The aggrieved woman has been given further option to send representation to the Secretary or head of the organization in case she feels that she is being victimized because of her complaint. The concerned authority will be required to dispose of this complaint within 15 days.
All ministries and departments etc. are now required to submit a monthly progress report to the Ministry of Women and Child Development so that the progress can be monitored.


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