Rape and harassment in the workplace5 min read . Updated: 31 Dec 2012, 08:39 PM IST
The sexual harassment Bill can provide a structure in which women feel safe to come forward with a complaint, but does it really improve on the existing Vishaka Guidelines?
When senior advocate Pooja Kute, member of Majlis, a women’s rights NGO, and who worked closely with the Maharashtra State Commission for Women on the drafting and implementation of The Protection of Women Against Sexual Harassment at Work Place Bill, 2010, first sat on the panel for a Union government cell that was conducting an enquiry into an allegation of sexual harassment in the workplace, she says they went by the Vishaka Guidelines of the Supreme Court, passed in 1997. “But the complainant filed a case against the panel stating that he had not been present when the witness was being examined, and that this was against the Service rules (the All India Services (Conduct) Rules which are stipulated for all government employees). We could not continue the hearing. The Service rules trip us up every time" Kute says.