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Lok Sabha passes Bill on Sexual Harassment at Workplace

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TNI Bureau: In a major initiative to give protection and justice to women at the workplace, the Lok Sabha has passed the anti-sexual harassment bill 2010 amidst disruption in the House over coal blocks allocation on Monday.

The famous verdict of the Supreme Court in the Vishaka vs. State of Rajasthan regarding sexual harassment of working women case in 1997 was taken into discussion by a Parliamentary Standing Committee and passed the bill keeping in view the guidelines in this case, where sexual harassment at workplace had been clearly defined as well as its preventive and disciplinary action was also provided.

The bill is also applicable for domestic women workers. As per the bill, domestic worker means a woman, employed to do household work for remuneration.

The said bill was passed without discussion, as the MPs from the Opposition stood in the well, shouting slogans demanding the resignation of the Prime Minister over Coalgate. The bill was steered by the Women and Child Development Minister Krishna Tirath.

The bill makes it mandatory for all offices, hospitals, institutions and other workplaces to have an internal complaint redress mechanism too.

According to the bill, sexual harassment includes any unwelcome act or behavior such as physical contact and advances, a demand or request for sexual favors or making sexually colored remarks or showing pornography. The acts or behavior, direct or by implication, will also include any other physical, verbal or non-verbal conduct of a sexual nature.

Disobedience with the provisions of this law will be punishable with a fine of up to Rs 50,000, while frequent violations may lead to higher penalties and even cancellation of license or registration to do business.

 

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