This week, the Women and Child Development Ministry, wrote to the Ministry of Corporate Affairs, asking it to notify constitution of ICC as a mandatory disclosure under Section 134 of the Companies Act, 2013, after they discovered that companies did not show requisite interest in the matter.
The letter said “In order to ensure that private sector companies also constitute ICC as mandated under Sexual Harassment at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act 2013, it will be appropriate to ask the companies to disclose the constitution of the IIC in their Annual Disclosures filed under the provision of Section 134 of the Companies Act 2013.”
Union Minister Maneka Gandhi had asked leading business chambers including FICCI, ASSOCHAM and CII to submit compliance report as most of the private companies in the country do not have internal committees to address sexual harassment cases. This is particularly appalling, because according to the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013, all organizations, governmental and non-governmental, are required to form an Internal Complaints Committee to deal with cases of sexual harassment.
CSR’s Gender Training Institute has been working on the cause of sexual harassment at the workplace for quite some time. While members of the GTI regularly serve as members of various ICCs (as per the mandate that one member of the ICC needs to belong to an NGO), GTI also regularly conducts various gender sensitization trainings for different organizations, towards the prevention of sexual harassment.
We, at CSR, welcome this move on the part of the WCD Ministry, as it is an indication that the government is finally waking up to the seriousness of the issue of sexual harassment at the workplace. Non-compliance with the law should have serious legal repercussions for the concerned organizations, and it is imperative that this issue needs to be addressed with utmost urgency.
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