Published On : Thu, Jul 2nd, 2015

Sexual harassment of women: How sincere are Govt offices in eradication of this evil?

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Nagpur: Despite all government provisions and official measures taken time-to-time to lay a check on working-women’s sexual harassment in the places of their work, the incidents are growing. Many of such incidents are not reported just because of individual hesitation, social shame and need to survive on the part of women. Ultimately, the harassed woman remains silent against her abuse. But, thanks to Supreme Court for taking a stern stand on converting the silence of such victimized women into their strength.

Under the Apex Court’s directives to all private as well as government run organizations a special cell to look into grievances of sexually harassed women was to be constituted. In abidance to this court-order, the Central Government framed the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013,  and  Maharashtra Government issued a relevant GR dated November 11, 2014 to this effect for its comprehensive implementation in all private and government offices/ work-places, and for setting up cells to effectively monitor the implementation.

If one intends to examine the implementation of the aforesaid orders/ provisions, particularly in government or semi-government departments in Nagpur metro city, the picture provides a very poor show. After issuance of the GR, it is seen that only four departments like Animal Science University, Gramin Tahsil Karyalaya, Zilla Parishad and Women and Child Welfare have opened such cells in their respective offices.

When the department of Women and Child Welfare was contacted on this count, the department said, neither is the department monitoring the cases about sexual harassment of women at working places nor has it any information about it. However, a woman officer of the department said that the necessary work of monitoring of such cases would be started soon. If such is the plight of government departments, what can be said of the private ones?

The Nagpur Today happened to contact NMC corporator (NCP) Pragati Patil in this regard, and her reply was also quite practical in terms of  social outlook towards a woman. She frankly said, the victim women of sexual harassment never came out candidly to lodge complaints. “As they observed silent, we too were helpless to do anything against the harassment caused to them,” she added.

However, it is high time now to look into this problem with public support as the cases of sexual abuse to women are on the rise, and the Apex Court is too viewing it seriously. The Apex Court’s verdict that got published on Thursday, July 2, is worth commending in which the Apex Court looks on women with dignity and respect. The Apex Court holds–“The body of a woman is a temple” (Reference: The Apex Court disallowed any sort of compromise for marriage between the accused rapist and the rape-victim, as has been earlier ruled by various courts including the Madras High Court).