CPMF slammed for ignoring SC guidelines on sexual harassment
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Last Updated: Friday, December 03, 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.


First Published: Friday, December 03, 2010, 19:25

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