Depts default on setting up ICCs on sexual harassment

Bhubaneswar: Even three years after the directive of the Supreme Court asking state governments to form and implement Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) in all departments to prevent sexual harassment of women at the workplace, most departments of the Odisha government are yet to adhere to the apex court directive in letter and spirit.

“The Women and Child Development (WCD) department, in its letter in November and December, 2013, had asked all the departments to constitute the ICC. While some departments have complied with our orders, we have sent letters to the remaining departments to apprise us of their present status in this regard,” RP, Singh, Director (Social Welfare), Women and Child Development, told OTV.

Official sources said so far 17 departments have constituted ICCs. But barring the Water Resources and Handlooms, Textiles and Handicrafts departments, the rest 15 have not included a member of a non-government organisation in gross violation of rules. Ten other departments are yet to form the committees. Besides, the WCD department has also asked 12 departments to replace the title of chairperson with presiding officer as the head of the committee.

Expressing resentment over the lackadaisical attitude of the departments towards working women, former member of the State Commission for Women (SCW) Namrata Chadha said formation of ICC is necessary to provide them security and dignity. “It’s not as if once the committee is constituted, working women will pounce on their male counterparts. The committee will help the women to work in a dignified manner. Besides, it can also inquire into any harassment on them,” she pointed out.

“The committee will provide more security to all working women, including myself. To my knowledge, there is no incident like sexual harassment of women in the State Secretariat till date due to the formation of the committee,” said a lady employee.