NGOs want protection of men in sexual harassment bill

New Delhi, July 17 (Calcutta Tube) A group of NGOs working for men’s rights Saturday demanded that the bill on prevention of sexual harassment of women at the workplace be made gender neutral to also protect men being harassed at the workplace.

The NGOs under the banner of Save Indian Family Foundation said the draft bill, which is likely to be introduced in the monsoon session of parliament starting July 26, should be discarded and a fresh gender neutral draft should be prepared.

The draft bill was prepared by the Women and Child Development (WCD) ministry.

‘The sexual harassment at workplace bill must be reviewed and amended immediately to make it gender neutral. The bill in its present form violates Article 15 of the Indian Constitution which prohibits discrimination against any citizen on grounds of religion or sex,’ said Niladri Shekhar Das, general secretary of Save Indian Family Foundation.

The NGOs demanded that corporate bodies like FICCI (Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry) and CII (Confederation of Indian Industry) and a corporate committee comprising equal number of male and female members be included while drafting laws to truly achieve equal opportunity at the workplace.

The proposed bill includes a clause which brings students, research scholars, patients and women in the unorganised sector within the ambit of the proposed law.

According to the government, the legislation will put pressure on the private sector, which has so far not been prompt in taking steps to check harassment of women employees.

The proposed law will ensure that a committee headed by a women is present in every firm to address cases of sexual harassment and a penalty is imposed on those who fail to follow the guidelines.

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