The government of India constituted a Group of Ministers (GoM) for developing frameworks to deal with sexual harassment at workplaces after the latest development in the #MeToo movement which oversaw MJ Akbar forcefully stepping down as the Union Minister of India following several sexual misconduct allegations.
The GoM will be headed by Home Minister of India Rajnath Singh and will include Defence minister of India Nirmala Sitharaman, Road and Transport minister of India Nitin Gadkari and Union Minister for Women and Child Development of India Maneka Gandhi.
Maneka Gandhi had earlier expressed her solidarity with the movement and assured that her ministry will set up a committee of senior judicial and legal persons to look into issues of sexual harassment. Gandhi said she believes in the “pain and trauma behind every single complaint” and cases of sexual harassment at work “must be dealt with a policy of zero tolerance”. She later urged all political parties to set up internal committees.
As per a report by Indian Express, no political party, including the BJP and the Congress, has set up an internal complaints committee as directed by the Supreme Court of India in the Vishakha judgment at their main offices.
Section 4 of the Sexual Harassment at Work Place (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act mandates every organisation which employs women to constitute an internal complaints committee headed by a senior woman employee.
The Ministry of Women & Child Development of India has also launched an Electronic Complaints Box that enables women, irrespective of their work status, to raise their voice against sexual harassment at workplace. Once a complaint is submitted to the ‘SHe-Box’, it is directly sent to the concerned authority having jurisdiction to take action into the matter. A mechanism will be put in place to regularly monitor the action taken on the complaints.