Hyderabad: Seventy per cent of women who face sexual harassment do not come forward to complain, while there are women who take advantage of the law. The motives behind every case should be understood before proceeding with the same, according to Satbeer Bedi, Member Secretary, National Commission for Women (NCW).
Talking at a day-long consultation on ‘Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013’ here on Saturday, Bedi said most educational institutions and organisations do not want the name of the offender to go public.
“They are more worried about the reputation of their institution. Are we protecting the offenders or are we protecting society from these offenders?” she asked.
Earlier, addressing the consultation organised by the Telangana State Commission for Women and the NCW, former High Court judge G Yathirajulu said every organisation was required to constitute an Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) for effective redressal mechanism. Half of the committee members should be women.
“Most organisations have setup ICCs but they are only on paper. Unless there is a threat of punishment, there won’t be a solution,” Yathirajulu said.
Telangana Women’s Commission chairperson Tripurana Venkataratnam said managements of educational institutions should also nominate outsiders and experts with gender sensitisation as members of ICCs. The Commission also directed the State government to set up local complaint committees (LCCs) in all districts, headed by Collectors.
“Complaint panels should be constituted for every single unit of every district in the State. Code of conduct for zero tolerance of sexual harassment should be strictly enforced and displayed prominently in every organisation,” Viziendira Boyi, Director, Women and Child Welfare Department, said.
Many representatives, including District Collectors, recommended that the preliminary and secondary investigators of the sexual harassment cases should be different. The consultation was organised to send recommendations to the Centre to make the law strong.