The Government introduced ‘The Protection of Women against Sexual Harassment at Workplace Bill, 2010’ in Lok Sabha on 07.12.2010 with the object to provide protection to women against sexual harassment at all workplaces both in the public and private sector, whether organised or unorganised and for the prevention and redressal of complaints of sexual harassment. Women who are employed as well as those who enter the workplace as clients, customers or apprentices besides the students and research scholars in colleges and universities and patients in hospitals are sought to be covered under the proposed legislation. However, domestic workers working at home are not covered.
The National Commission for Women (NCW) suggested a draft Bill after holding consultations with various stake holders. In the draft Bill, provisions for constitution of Internal Complaints Committees, Local Complaints Committees dispute resolution prior to inquiry, maintenance of confidentiality etc. have been proposed. The important recommendations of the NCW have been incorporated in the Bill.
The NCW recommended covering domestic workers under the proposed legislation. However, the Government has decided to exclude domestic workers from the definition of employee as it may be difficult to enforce the provisions of the Bill within the privacy of homes and it may be more practical for them to take recourse to the provisions under criminal law.
This information was given by Smt. Krishna Tirath, Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Women and Child Development in a written reply to a question in the Rajya Sabha today.