KOCHI: A Division Bench of the Kerala High Court has directed the film production houses to form an internal complaints committee as per the POSH Act -- Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal Act).
The court issued the order on a petition filed by Kerala's Women in Cinema Collective (WCC) seeking a directive to the Association of Malayalam Movie Artists (AMMA) to constitute a grievance redressal mechanism against sexual harassment as per the guidelines of the Supreme Court. The apex court had issued the guidelines in the Vishakha case and the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013.
The Bench held that "each film unit in an industry is an establishment and an Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) needs to be constituted for that purpose".
Kerala's Women's Commission had informed the court that it requested the state government to constitute an internal complaints committee under the Vishaka guidelines for the Malayalam film industry and enactment of legislation for the benefit of cine employers and employees as a whole
The petition, filed by actor Rima Kallingal, who's the president of WCC, stated that the failure of the AMMA to implement a grievance redressal mechanism for its members against sexual harassment at the workplace leaves its members helpless. "The complaint committee is the need of the hour in the wake of several revelations of widespread sexual assault and harassment of women in film industries across the country," the petition said.
The Supreme Court guidelines in the Vishaka v. State of Rajasthan case as well as the provisions of the law relating to the prevention of sexual harassment were squarely applicable to the AMMA and cast an obligation on it to constitute a grievance redressal mechanism, the petition said.
The members have no adequate remedy against sexual harassment faced by them in their profession. it said, adding that the non-constitution of such a mechanism by the registered Association was a violation of the fundamental rights of its members. In fact, similarly placed other associations had taken steps to provide a redressal mechanism.
AMMA has given an assurance that it will constitute an ICC. The court recorded the submission and held that it should be in accordance with the provisions of the POSH Act. "Other related associations with more than 10 employees should have an ICC," held the court.