The Minister for Women and Child Development, Smt. Maneka Sanjay Gandhi, had held a review meeting on implementation of Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 on 26.10.2016. During the meeting, some cases of sexual harassment pending with certain ministries/ departments were also examined. On the basis of the discussions, it was decided that DoPT will issue fresh instructions so that some of the issues can be suitably addressed.
On the basis of the decisions taken, DoPT has issued fresh guidelines regarding Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace vide their Office Memorandum dated 22.12.2016. According to the O.M., following have to be observed by the ministries/departments and Internal Complaints Committees:
(i) Brief details of the implementation of the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace Act including the number of cases received and disposed shall form a part of the Annual Report of all ministries/ departments and authorities there under.
(ii) The enquiry of cases must be completed within 30 days and under any circumstances within 90 days from the date of the complaint.
(iii)The ministries/ departments etc. have to keep a watch on the complainant so as to ensure that she is not victimized in any manner because of her having filed the complaint. The aggrieved woman has been given further option to send representation to the Secretary or head of the organization in case she feels that she is being victimized because of her complaint. The concerned authority will be required to dispose of this complaint within 15 days.
(iv)All ministries/ departments etc. are now required to submit a monthly progress report to the Ministry of Women and Child Development so that the progress can be monitored.
Smt. Maneka Sanjay Gandhi, while appreciating DoPT for having quickly issued the guidelines, stated that the WCD Ministry shall continue to work on issues related to sexual harassment of women at workplace and she will be holding further consultations to see if there are any other areas which need to be looked into. The WCD Ministry will be coming out with a comprehensive plan to train the heads of Internal Complaint Committee under the Central Government Ministries/ Departments, the Minister added.