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WCC Case : Kerala High Court Urges AMMA, FEFKA & Other Film Bodies To Form Joint Committee To Redress Grievances Of Women Artists & Employees

LIVELAW NEWS NETWORK
17 March 2022 12:36 PM GMT
WCC Case : Kerala High Court Urges AMMA, FEFKA & Other Film Bodies To Form Joint Committee To Redress Grievances Of Women Artists & Employees
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The Kerala High Court has made an appeal to the various organisations of the Malayalam film industry to form a joint committee to redress the grievances of women artists and employees regarding sexual harassment at workplace.A division bench comprising Chief Justice S Manikumar and Justice Shaji P Chaly made the observation while deciding a PIL filed by Women in Cinema Collective...

The Kerala High Court has made an appeal to the various organisations of the Malayalam film industry to form a joint committee to redress the grievances of women artists and employees regarding sexual harassment at workplace.

A division bench comprising Chief Justice S Manikumar and Justice Shaji P Chaly made the observation while deciding a PIL filed by Women in Cinema Collective (WCC) - an organization of women artists- seeking implementation of the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 in film industry.

The Court held that organizations like Association of Malayalam Movie Actors (AMMA) have no employer-employee relationship with artists who are its members and hence such associations have no statutory obligation to form Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) to deal with sexual harassment complaints.

At the same time, the Court held a film unit to be work place and held that film production units have to constitute ICC as per the Act.

Further, the Court expressed a desire that all film bodies will form a joint committee to deal with women's complaints so as to ensure a safe working place for her.

"Even though, we have clearly expressed our views with respect to the extent of obligations of the organisations coming under the provisions of Act, 2013 to form Internal Committees, we convey our desire that the organisations associated with the film industry viz., Association of Malayalam Movie Actors (AMMA), FEFKA, Kerala Film Chamber of Commerce, Kerala Film Producers Association, take steps to constitute a joint committee, by including the members of organisations registered with them in tune with the provisions of Act, 2013 to deal with sexual harassment of women, which would definitely render sufficient confidence to women Actor Artists and other employees & other workers employed by the production unit ; which would in turn protect the dignity, and make the right to life and personal liberty of the women in the film industry more meaningful and fruitful".

Background

WCC was formed under the leadership of actors like Parvathy Thiruvothu, Revathy, Rima Killingal, Padmapriya, Anjali Menon etc., as an aftermath of the controversy following the sexual assault of a prominent actor in 2017, which was allegedly a part of the conspiracy hatched by actor Dileep. The trial in this case is still pending before a Special CBI Judge.

It is the case of the petitioner that AMMA is trying to defend Dileep rather than protecting the survivor. In 2018, WCC had also convened a press meet, where they attacked the Association's inaction against Dileep and its indifference towards the interests of the survivor. Members of the WCC had further declared in the press meet that they will look for other means to redress their grievances as they had lost confidence in the leadership of AMMA.

The main actors' body AMMA told the Court that it is in the process of constituting ICC as regards its employees; however, the AMMA added that it has no control over film production sets and that it has no employer-employee relationship with the artists.

The Court held that the production unit is the workplace of an individual film and therefore, each production unit would have to constitute an Internal Complaints Committee, which alone can deal with the harassment against the women in contemplation of the provisions of Act, 2013.

"The production unit of each film industry is an establishment employing Actor Artists and other workers and therefore, such production units have to maintain an Internal Complaints Committee, if they are engaging more than 10 workers, as is contemplated under the Act, 2013", the Court directed.

Case Title: Women in Cinema Collective & Anr v. State of Kerala & Ors. [WP(C) 34273/2018]

Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (Ker) 128

Click Here To Read/Download The Judgment



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