Law passed to protect working women

February 27, 2013 - 5:14:28 am

New Delhi: Parliamentary approval was yesterday accorded to a bill seeking to provide protection to women from sexual harassment at the workplace, including millions of unorganised workers like the domestic help.

The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Bill, 2012 was passed by the Rajya Sabha yesterday. It was approved by the Lower House in 

September 2012.

The bill covers under its list of offences sexual remarks, demand for sexual favour, or any act of physical advance or an unwelcome touch.

Moving the bill in the Upper House, Women and Child Empowerment Minister Krishna Tirath said the bill will cover organised and unorganised sectors and include domestic workers.  “The aim is that women are able to work freely whether the workplace is in the organised or unorganised sector,” Tirath said.

The bill mandates an internal complaint committee for any organisation with 10 or more employees. For an employer not following this, the penalty will be Rs50,000. Repeated violations may lead to higher penalties and cancellation of licence or registration to conduct business.

However, in the case of false or malicious complaint, the bill provides for action against the complainant in accordance with service rules and in any other manner in case no service rules exist. The bill covers employees, clients, customers, apprentice or daily wage workers who enter the workplace. It will apply to private sector organisation, societies, trusts, educational institutions, NGOs, service providers of commercial, professional or entertainment activities.            IANS