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Govt announces new legal committee for #MeToo

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As #MeToo movement has gained momentum in India and more and more incidents of sexual harassment are being reported publicly, the Government has announced the formation of a committee to look into the issues being raised.

Union Minister for Women and Child Development Maneka Gandhi has said that the committee will be comprised of senior judicial and legal officials who will look into the #MeToo cases.  The committee will look into the “legal & institutional framework which is in place for handling complaints” of sexual harassment at work, including some of the complaints if required. It will also advise the WCD Ministry on strengthening the frameworks as well.

“For many years there was a burden on women, that even if they were humiliated verbally or by touch, the woman never used to speak up, even if she was 80 years old. But now, they have found the strength. The committee will include four retired judges and a strong lawyer as an amicus and will conduct independent hearings,” said the Minister.

Victims can depose before the committee about their complaints.

Gandhi further said that the sexual harassment at work should be dealt with a policy of zero tolerance.

She further informed that the institutional framework as per the Sexual Harassment of Women at workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act of 2013 has been put in place, so that  harassment-free workplaces covering all women of all ages can be ensured.

She also proposed setting up of a She-Box portal which can be used by women to report grievances. Cases can also be reported to her Ministry through twitter with the #HelpMeWCD hashtag.

BJP president Amit Shah has also announced that  sexual harassment cases against Minister of State for External Affairs M J Akbar will also be probed.

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