DCW seeks strict implementation of law against sexual harassment of women at workplace

- September 19, 2022
| By : Patriot Bureau |

The panel further said the committees have not been provided proper dedicated office space, budget, and staff

Presently there are 22 sub-registrar offices in the city and the number will increase to 27 after new offices are opened. (File Photo: Getty)

The Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) has submitted a report to the city government pointing out several ‘lapses’ in the implementation of the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) law.

The law mandates the constitution and proper functioning of the Local Complaints Committee (LCC) in every district.

The committees will receive complaints of sexual harassment from establishments where the ‘Internal Complaints Committee’ has not been constituted due to having less than 10 workers or if the complaint is against the employer himself.

In order to ascertain the status of LCC in the national capital, notices were issued by the DCW to all the district magistrates in Delhi seeking specific information regarding the complaint committee in their respective districts.

It was observed that from 2019 to 2021, only 40 complaints were received by all the LCCs. For instance, the southwest district dealt with only three cases in the last three years and the west district did not deal with any cases at all, the panel said.

It also claimed that even the small number of complaints received were not being dealt with in a time-bound manner.

While the law mandates the chairperson of these committees to be nominated amongst eminent women in the field of social work, which was not being followed by many districts, it said, adding that most districts did not have external members from reputed NGOs.

The panel further said the committees have not been provided proper dedicated office space, budget, and staff.

“This cripples their functioning. For instance, the south, west and Shahdara districts have informed that there is no dedicated room or staff allocated for the functioning of the committees,” the report said.

“The east district, Shahdara district and west district have informed that they have no budget allotted whatsoever. The New Delhi district has stated that the expenditure of the LCCs is booked under ‘Office Expenses’ as and when required. The committees cannot be expected to function properly without a dedicated budget for their functioning,” it said.

The report also flagged the lack of publicity about the existence of these committees with the DCW recommending that an efficient complaint receiving mechanism must be set up online as well as offline to increase accessibility to all the people of Delhi.

It said the low number of complaints registered could also be due to a lack of awareness about LCC and other provisions of the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace Act, 2013.

The commission has recommended that the state government must raise awareness amongst the public against sexual harassment and the provisions of the act.

“The sorry state of affairs of the implementation of the law against sexual harassment at workplace in the capital is distressing. We have given a detailed report to the Women and Child Development Ministry of the Delhi Government and expect urgent action on the same,” said DCW chief Swati Maliwal.

“The Government must ensure adequate publicity to the provisions of the sexual harassment at workplace law and the local complaints committees. I expect an Action Taken report in the matter in 20 days,” she added.

(With PTI inputs)

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