Harassment and Redressal Cell
Anti Sexual Harassment Cell
Gender sensitisation refers to the refinement and modification of behaviour by raising awareness of gender equality concerns. Gender equality in all dimensions is a basic human right and the Constitution of India guarantees all its citizens equality of status and opportunity.The National Commission for Women was set up as a statutory body in January 1992 under the National Commission for Women Act, 1990. Sexual harassment is considered as a violation of a woman’s fundamental right to equality, which right is guaranteed by Articles 14 and 15 of the Constitution. Sexual harassment in the workplace creates an insecure and adverse work environment, thereby discouraging women’s participation in work and hampering social and economic growth. In 1997 the Supreme Court Judgement on Sexual Harassment at Workplace, (Vishaka Vs. State of Rajasthan), led to the formulation of Vishaka Guidelines.
Sexual harassment as specified, includes-
Taking cognizance of the fact that the present civil and penal laws in India do not adequately provide for specific protection of women from sexual harassment in work places and that enactment of such legislation will take considerable time, it is expedient for employers in work places as well as other responsible persons or institutions to observe certain guidelines to ensure the prevention of sexual harassment of women. India’s first legislation specifically addressing the issue of workplace sexual harassment was enacted in 2013. The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 (“Prevention of Workplace Sexual Harassment Act”) was made effective from December 09, 2013 by the Ministry of Women and Child Development, India. All employers or persons in charge of work place, whether in public or private sector, should take appropriate steps to prevent sexual harassment. As per Vishaka Guidelines they should take the following preventive steps:
(a) Express prohibition of sexual harassment as defined above at the work place should be notified, published and circulated in appropriate ways.
(b) The Rules/Regulations of Government and Public Sector bodies relating to conduct and discipline should include rules/regulations prohibiting sexual harassment and provide for appropriate penalties in such rules against the offender.
(c) As regards private employers, steps should be taken to include the aforesaid prohibitions in the standing orders under the Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Act, 1946.
(d) Appropriate work conditions should be provided in respect of work, leisure, health and hygiene to further ensure that there is no hostile environment towards women at work places and no employee woman should have reasonable grounds to believe that she is disadvantaged in connection with her employment.
Giving due consideration to all these facts, Taki Government College initially constituted a Gender Sensitisation and Sexual Harassment Protection Sub-Committee as a part of the NAAC Committee to initiate steps in this matter. Prior to this, it was part of the duty of the Disciplinary Committee of the College to look into these matters. Fortunately no such matters were reported. The members of the Sub-Committee were:
The second meeting of the Gender Sensitisation and Sexual Harassment Protection Sub-Committee was held on 11.12.2015. The following agenda were discussed-
The third meeting was held on 14.3.2016 to discuss two vital agenda, namely, selection of the External Member of GSSHPC and the Awareness Programme.
An initial start had been made in the meantime with a Sensitisation Programme on PCPNDT Act, that was held to generate awareness of the College Students on ‘Save the Girl Child’, organized by Department of Zoology in collaboration with Gana Unnayan Parishad, on 22-03-2016 at Taki Government College.
The fourth meeting of the Gender Sensitisation and Sexual Harassment Protection Sub-Committee, held on 01.04.2016, mainly pursued the matter of the Awareness Programme. The detailed nature of the future Programme was discussed and duties divided amongst the members. The venue of the Programme was proposed. The date was initially set on 11.4.2016 but had to be deferred due to the commencement of University Examinations.
The meeting of the Gender Sensitisation and Sexual Harassment Protection Cell, held on 29.11.2016, was a crucial one during which the Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) of Taki Government College was formalized as specified in the Vishaka Guidelines. The Committee is headed by a woman and more than fifty percent of its members are females. The members are:
Shri Pranab Sarkar, PA to Addtnl. District Judge, Basirhat Court & NGO
A preliminary discussion on the steps to be taken if any complaint is registered was held by the Cell and ICC members in presence of the Principal, Taki Government College. Also a proposal for opening a ‘Legal Literacy Club’ was placed.
Subsequently, a Gender Sensitisation Awareness Programme was held on 15.12.2016 in collaboration with Sub-Divisional Legal Services Committee, Basirhat. Another Programme on Gender Equality and Justice was held on 04.09.2017 in collaboration with the ‘Centre for Care of Tortured Victims’(CCTV) and its unit ‘Lalona’ whose central mission is to generate awareness related to women. Lalona has joined the National ‘Campaign Eksaath’ promoting men’s involvement in such matters. The programme was a part of ‘Campaign Eksaath’ and emphasized upon the critical issues of Child Marriage and Female Education. Both male and female students were allowed to individually state their opinions. Hence it was a fruitful interaction on gender issues.