Flaws in Sexual Harassment of Women Act?

Published: 21st September 2012 09:43 AM  |   Last Updated: 21st September 2012 09:43 AM   |  A+A-

The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace Act of 2012 ignores workplaces such as agricultural fields, fisheries, forests, construction sites and armed forces and  among others, according to the All India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA). The Bill was passed during the monsoon Session of the Parliament. AIDWA said that there are a few critical points that have been left out, which might act as a deterrent.

Beyond this, there are two more clauses in Act which could be a hindrance to the Act. “Though passing the Bill is an important step towards filling the gap, it provides for an action against the complainant in case of a false or malicious complaint. Clause 14 of the Act makes provision for punishment in case of a false or malicious complaint. The threat of punitive action for false complaints will definitely act as an obstacle. Given that not many women approach the police to register a complaint, this clause should be amended,” said Arvind Narrain of Alternative Law Forum.

Also, he highlighted that the three months time limit to register a complaint also needs to be amended. An aggrieved woman may make a written complaint of sexual harassment within a period of three months from the date of incident.

“Taking into consideration the time that the woman needs to come out of the trauma, this clause may also need a change,” he added. Question are also been raised about Clause (16), which seeks to protect the identity of the respondent even when he has been found guilty.

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