NEW DELHI:In a major relief to aggrieved women who face sexual harassment, the Centre has decided to empower complaints committees to check sexual harassment at government workplaces and recommend transfer of accused officers to other workplaces.
The government has issued instructions to this effect and complaints committees have been set up in all ministries and government departments under them in pursuance of the Supreme Court judgment in the Vishaka case, Jitendra Singh, Minister of State for the Department of Personnel and Training, informed Parliament on Wednesday.
Under the new instructions on steps for conducting inquiry, the government has suggested several new measures to ensure that cases of sexual harassments are taken to the logical conclusion.
As per the new measures, the disciplinary authority has been directed not to dispense with the inquiry in complaints of sexual harassment lightly, arbitrarily or with ulterior motive or merely because the case against the government servant is weak. The committee may make recommendations, including deduction from the salary of the officer.
Under the new steps for conducting inquiry, the aggrieved woman or complainant is required to make a complaint within three months of the incident and in case there has been a series of incidents, three months of the last incident.
The government is also considering the idea of having an SMS-based grievance mechanism, going by the recommendations of the Parliamentary panel on women empowerment.