CPMF slammed for ignoring SC guidelines on sexual harassment

Last Updated: Friday, December 3, 2010 - 19:25

New Delhi: A Parliamentary panel has come down
heavily on the paramilitary forces, especially the BSF, over
lack of strict adherence to Supreme Court guidelines on sexual
harassment.

The Committee on Empowerment of Women, in its report on
`Women in Paramilitary Forces` tabled in both Lok Sabha and
Rajya Sabha today, observed that the guidelines of the Supreme
Court "are not being scrupulously followed in paramilitary
forces."
The 33-page report pointed out that it has been made
mandatory for all paramilitary forces to set up complaint
cells headed by lady officers to investigate cases of sexual
harassment in pursuance of the apex court judgement in the
matter.

Asking the Home Ministry to devise an effective mechanism
to deal with cases of sexual harassment in paramilitary
forces, the panel expressed "surprise" over the practice of
officers` wives judging such complaints lodged by women
employees in BSF.

"The committee is surprised to note that in some of these
forces, especially BSF, wives of officers listen to grievances
of women employees which can never be unbiased or impartial
corrective measure as there have been cases where women
employees were harassed by their seniors and the wives of
senior officers sat on the judgement," the panel said.

The Committee strongly recommended that the Ministry of
Home Affairs should ensure that the SC guidelines on sexual
harassment are once again reiterated afresh so that all
central paramilitary forces follow these guidelines for
strict compliance by them.
The committee also recommended that the practice of
hearing such cases by wives of senior officers should be
"dispensed with immediately" as it can never be impartial.

It also observed that in some of the paramilitary forces
women NGO members were included in the sexual harassment
committees.

"The committee is of the firm opinion that a woman NGO
must be invariably included in these committees to avoid
intimidation of women victims by the male officers," the
report said.

The panel, headed by Chandresh Kumari, asked the Union
Home Ministry to devise a "strict monitoring mechanism" to
look into cases of sexual harassment in paramilitary forces.

It laid down a six-month timeline for completion of
inquiry into such complaints and recommended more gender
sensitisation programmes, mobile toilets and creche facilities
in all forces.

PTI



First Published: Friday, December 3, 2010 - 19:25

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