BHUBANESWAR: The National Commission for Women (NCW) has asked the state government to form committees at district-level to receive complaints of sexual harassment from establishments where there are no internal complaints committees and also look into safety of girls in educational institutions.
In a letter to chief secretary Suresh Chandra Mahapatra recently, NCW chairperson Rekha Sharma urged him to take all preventive measures to stop such cases on campuses. Concerned over sexual harassment cases being reported from coaching and educational institutions, the NCW chairperson urged the chief secretary to ensure strict implementation of the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 on campuses and direct all coaching centres to prevent sexual harassment of girl students either from male teachers or students.
Two months back, a minor girl was sexually harassed and ragged by a group of 12 students on the campus of Binayak Acharya Government College in Berhampur. Although the incident was first investigated for ragging, the sexual harassment angle was probed after the girl filed a complaint. Four days after this incident, a girl student of Khallikote Junior College filed a harassment complaint against her seniors and also alleged that this was a regular affair on the campus.
Sharma called for awareness drives on campuses and workplaces on the act to improve reporting of sexual harassment cases. She also urged Mahapatra to ensure that all coaching centres are registered and do a background check of individuals running these facilities.
Stating that the act is applicable to all organisations and where the strength is less than 10, the NCW chairperson said every district should constitute a local committee to receive complaints of sexual harassment from establishments where the internal committee has not been formed. A nodal officer should be designated at every block and tehsil to receive complaints and forward them to the local committee. It has been noticed that in many organisations where the employee strength is less than 10, internal committees have not been constituted.Following the letter, the chief secretary has asked the higher education department to look into proper implementation of the Act.