Sexual Harrasment at Workplace Bill - Indian Men loosen your wallets

On 3rsd September 2012, LokSabha (lower house in Indian Parliament) passed the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace Bill, 2012.  The bill can be downloaded here. As the name suggests, only women can benefit from this law. The bill talks about human rights, but is silent, as to why it offers protection only to women. For the government, men are not humans.

This law is designed with sole motive to extort money from Indian Men. Indian has a plethora of anti-husband laws. Many husbands who are harassed at home, try to take refuge at workplace. They try to immerse themselves in work.
Now government wants to destroy this safe house of theirs. So they have came up with this bill.

As per this law, sexual harassment,  is defined as follows, ''sexual harassment'' includes any one or more of the following unwelcome acts or behaviour (whether directly or by implication) namely:—
(i) physical contact and advances; or
(ii) a demand or request for sexual favours; or
(iii) making sexually coloured remarks; or
(iv) showing pornography; or
(v) any other unwelcome physical, verbal or non-verbal conduct of sexual nature;

As can be seen, clause "v" of this law, is very vague and wide open to interpretation. It provides the opportunity to any unscrupulous women to file a complaint. Per this law, whether the complaint is valid or not, will be decided later. Irrespective of how frivolous any complaint is, it has to be investigated. The male employee who is accused, will be immediately under scanner.

Who is an employee  " ''employee'' means a person employed at a workplace for any work on regular, temporary, ad hoc or daily wage basis, either directly or through an agent, including a contractor, with or, without the knowledge of the principal employer, whether for remuneration or not, or working on a voluntary basis or otherwise, whether the terms of employment are express or implied and includes a co-worker, a contract worker, probationer, trainee, apprentice or called by any other such name;"

 What is a workplace  ? ''workplace'' includes—
(i) any department, organisation, undertaking, establishment, enterprise, institution, office, branch or unit which is established, owned, controlled or wholly or substantially financed by funds provided directly or indirectly by the appropriate Government or the local authority or a Government company or a corporation or a co-operative society;
(ii)  any  private  sector  organisation  or  a  private  venture,  undertaking, enterprise,  institution,  establishment,  society,  trust,  non-governmental organisation,  unit or service provider carrying on commercial, professional, vocational, educational, entertainmental, industrial, health services or financial activities including production, supply, sale, distribution or service;
(iii) hospitals or nursing homes;
(iv) any sports institute, stadium, sports complex or competition or games venue, whether residential or not used for training, sports or other activities relating thereto;
(v) any place visited by the employee arising out of or during the course of employment including transportation provided by the employer for undertaking such  journey;
(vi) a dwelling place or a house;

Many men will say, "but my female colleagues are decent". Well, think again. The definition of an employee and workplace itself is very broad. As can be seen by clause "v", above, the definition of workplace, is very wide, and is not limited to your own office space.  The clause " in relation to workplace covered under sub-clauses (i) and (ii), the person discharging contractual obligations with respect to his or her employees;"  in conjunction with the definition of workplace. Any women can file such a complaint, in any workplace. So not just her own office. So a women from some other company/business, can file complaint against employees of other companies. Claiming that she was harassed there. Further, 3. (1) No woman shall be subjected to sexual harassment at any workplace. 

No proof is necessary to lodge a complaint. The complaint of the women is enough, to accuse any employee. If the definition of "aggrieved woman" is considered, it can be safely concluded that, Any female in India (employed or unemployed) can file a case of sexual harassment against any male, working at any workplace.

The Bill dictates the creation of bodies to handle complaints, and in these bodies, 
(b) not less than two Members from amongst employees preferably committed to the cause of women or who have had experience in social work or have legal knowledge;
(4) The Member appointed from among the non-governmental organisations or associations shall be paid such fees or allowances for holding the proceedings of the Internal Committee, by the employer, as may be prescribed.

By stipulating the creation of bodies (comprised of women) to handle the complaints. The bill creates opportunities of job creation for worthless women. The same type of women, who had been pushing hard for such a bill.

The punishment will be monetary compensation to the victim. Is that an invitation ? So if you have money, go ahead, harass someone. Pay money and close the case.

To mislead the people, there is clause added to prevent misuse, which is an eye-wash. Since the bill itself says "Provided that a mere inability to substantiate a complaint or provide adequate proof need not attract action against the complainant under this section". The Indian courts have been carrying out this dictum in letter and spirit.

All the proceedings of an inquiry is kept outside the purview of Right To Information, Act.
There is more such diseased stuff in the bill. I leave it up to the knowledgeable reader to pursue that.

So with nothing to loose, it won't be surprising, if there are a spate of sexual harassment cases filed across workplaces in India.

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