The government will set up a committee of judges and lawyers to examine the
existing legal and institutional framework to deal with complaints of sexual
harassment at the workplace, Minister for Women and Child Development Maneka
Gandhi announced on Friday.
The decision comes even as the government is yet to make a statement on
allegations by several women journalists against Minister of State for External
Affairs M.J. Akbar.
The Minister said the expert committee will advise the Ministry to
strengthen the existing framework. A Ministry spokesperson said a formal order
on the constitution of the panel is expected in a day or two.
“The Prime Minister has always given top priority to the rights of women.
The first programme that he launched was Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao. We don't save
our daughters to allow big shots insult them later in life,” the Minister said.
According to a source, the government will appoint a “fact-finding
commission which will hold public hearings. Women survivors can also offer
testimony to the panel. Subsequently, the panel will identify causes and
consequences of the pervasive nature of sexual harassment at workplace that
could also lead to changes in the law.”
“While there is an urgent need to put the redressal mechanisms in place at
every workplace, it is equally important that survivors and complainants are
actively supported in their quest for justice,” the statement said.