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Panel lets harassment victim get case info from pvt employer

DNMUM439544 | 7/19/2019 | Author : Ashutosh M. Shukla | WC :510 | Mumbai

Mumbai: In a development with large-scale ramifications, a sexual harassment victim will be able to get details of the action taken by her employer’s in-house inquiry committee for such cases.
The state information commission (SIC) has directed the Women and Child Development Office (WCDO) to call for the records from the private entity where she worked and provide it to her.
Private bodies are outside the ambit of the Right To Information (RTI) Act so the victim cannot directly acquire the case files.
With its order, the commission has opened the gates for the government to call for detailed data from private bodies that goes beyond elementary annual reports.
This means, if person X working at company Y f
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But the commission stated that the company was required to hand in an annual report to the WCDO. It also said the central information commission in an earlier order had upheld the right of an employee working in a government organisation to use RTI as alternate means to get such information.
The sexual harassment law states that the appropriate authority can monitor and maintain data in such cases. The monitoring clause is not usually used by various authorities like registrar of cooperative societies to seek more details from societies over and above the annual report.
However, in this particular case, the SIC read down section 25 of the harassment act which allowed the appropriate authority to call upon any employer or district officer to furnish the information in writing, inspect records and produce the same on demand.
The commission then directed the PIO of WCDO to get details related to the applicant’s case from the employer organisation and provide it to the applicant.
“There are instances of the Vishakha guidelines being flouted. Sometimes, committees to tackle harassment cases do not even exist. The victim should get details of her complaint of harassment,” said Anjali Gopalan, a rights activist.

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