As the Supreme Court ruling entails necessity for every business establishments to have sexual harassment redressal committee, the working women in Nagpur tend to get vocal to press for their rights. In its last report Nagpur Today highlighted how the so called big establishments and business houses in city lack the said committee.
Coming up to our next step, Nagpur Today reached out to the women serving across various profession and had their views over the issue.
In the first part of our series Nagpur Today brought on board, city’s young advocate Smita Sarode-Singalkar, who is a socio-legal Consultant, trainer and writer. She is member of Star Bus (Committee for Sexual Harassment of women at work place), Member National Commission for Women (NCW) and Fact Finding Committee for Rape Case. Adv Smita is a practising lawyer in Criminal Court. She has been the Fellow awarded with this fellowship by Majlis to work on issues of women’s rights and represent them in the Court.
As per Supreme Court’s ruling, the employer or other responsible people at an establishment or institution having more than 10 members should form a sexual harassment redressal committee to prevent cases of sexual harassment and provide mechanisms for the resolution of complaints.
Character assassination at work place
Talking on the issue, Adv Smita Sarode – Singalkar said, “Our society always target women whether it is her fault or not. If a woman gives complaint against any male employee of her office, instead of directly questioning him people will start pointing fingers on the women’s character. This is why most of the women do not talk about the matter and keep tolerating.
Fear of losing job
Smita said that harassment at workplace is a serious issue and sexual harassment redressal committee is a must for working women at their workplace. This is women’s legal right and if any company does not follow the directions of Supreme Court and do not form such committee the female employees should question the management in this regard. However most of the women do not question in this regard as they often fear losing their job.
Mere formality will not solve problem
She added that just forming a sexual harassment redressal committee cannot solve the problem unless the members of the committee are the people who truly understand the issue. Sensible and people having background of handling such issues should be the member of the committee, she said. One member should be from an NGO who is working for women rights in the committee. Smita recalled an an incident when a class 3 employee of Zila Parishad, Nagpur came to her and discussed about her case. She told Smita that she suffered more after giving complaint about getting harassed by her boss only because the members in the committee were not sensitive enough to understand her suffering. They started raising questions about her duties and finally she received a show cause notice of not doing her work properly.
Fight to your might
She said that the women need to be strong and shoud raise their voice against injustice. She added that women facing such problems at workplace should give a written complaint to her boss or the concern person and if she did not receive any reply she should directly write to the ministry of Women and Child Development; she will surely get the reply and action will be taken. She concluded that the most important thing is to fight for our own rights.
One can contact Adv Smita Sarode – Singalkar regarding such problems and seek her guidance @ +91-9822655299
-By Puja Singh