The Ministry of Women and Child Development (WCD) said it will set up a legal committee in the wake of the #MeToo campaign.
In a statement issued on Friday, the Ministry said that the committee will have senior judicial and legal persons as members who will examine all issues emanating from the #MeToo India movement.
“I believe in the pain and trauma behind every single complaint. Cases of sexual harassment at work must be dealt with a policy of zero tolerance,” said Union WCD Minister Maneka Gandhi.
“In order to ensure harassment-free workplaces covering all women (all ages, full-time and part-time, public and private sector, organised or unorganised sectors etc., including domestic workers, students, apprentices and even those women visiting an office), the Government has put in place an effective legal and institutional framework in place through The Sexual Harassment of Women at workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013,” Gandhi said.
Gandhi said that she wants workplaces to be made more conducive to women employees, Internal Complaints Committee as required by the statute to be setup, more functional trustworthy systems to be put in place and compliance reported in public domain.
“Investigations into the complaints should be carried out swiftly in a free and fair manner,” she said.
Citing She-Box and ICCs, the Union Minister said that there are multiple mechanisms by which women can report grievances pertaining to sexual harassment.
“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 said.
The committee will look into the legal and institutional framework which is in place for handling complaints of sexual harassment at work and will advise the Ministry on how to strengthen this framework.
According to a WCD official, the committee will go into the legal and institutional framework and not based on individual complaints.
“Public hearing doesn’t mean hearing of individual complaints. It means any stakeholders can come and depose before the committee if they want to,” the official added.
The formal order regarding the constitution of the committee will be disclosed in a few days.
(With inputs from agencies.)