Sexual Harassment In NCW, Woman Victimised

National Commission for Women is considered the place for women seeking justice when society and law fail them. But when the very Commission fails the woman, where should she go, asks Central Information Commissioner Sridhar Acharyulu.

New Delhi: When the right of the woman is violated and rule of law does not work, she looks to National Commission for Women for support and sympathy. If men violate rights of woman in NCW office itself, and rule of law does not work, where should she go?

The case of a research assistant in NCW intrigues everyone, as the very spirit of the organisation was violated by a man in it. The services of Nammi Bano who joined in 2010 were extended in May 2016 for six months, after which there was no intimation whether her term was extended or not.

She alleged that the Deputy Secretary VVB Raju was victimising her for daring to raise voice against sexual harassment. The surprising part is that the Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) in NCW could not dispose of the matter judiciously as mandated in the Sexual Harassment of Women at Work Place (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 (Act No. 14 of 2013). The members who were also contractual employees were allured with double salaries by the bosses; hence they could not deal with the case objectively.

The victim then filed an RTI application seeking details about what happened in the ICC. Since there was no response, she filed the second appeal under Section 19(3) of RTI Act.

Surprisingly the National Commission for Women did not respond to her complaint, not conduct inquiry properly and disregarded to the guidelines of DoPT, the Supreme Court, and 2013 Act.

Taking all the issues into consideration, the RTI Commission directed the NCW to furnish their response on this alleged inaction.

In exercising the powers under section 18 (1) of RTI Act, it also directed that the respondent authority to conduct inquiry into Bano’s complaints against VVB Raju, the increase in remuneration of inquiry committee members and witnesses before inquiry committee in case of complaint of Sexual Harassment, and provide the report to the Commission, before 14.08.2016. Non-response by the prescribed date compels the Commission to presume that has nothing to explain and to proceed further under RTI Act, 2005.

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