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Sexual Harassment At Workplace : Kerala HC Issues Notice On PIL Seeking Formation Of ICC By Political Parties, Media Houses Etc [Read Petition]

The High Court of Kerala today admitted a Public Interest Litigation which seeks directions to constitute Internal Complaints Committee(ICC) within political parties, media and film production houses n accordance with the Prevention of Sexual Harassment At Workplaces Act 2013. Considering the PIL for admission, the Division Bench of Chief Justice Hrishikesh Roy and Justice Jayasankaran Nambiar issued notice to the respondents.

The PIL was filed by ‘Centre for Constitutional Rights Research and Advocacy’, which is stated to be an organization working on issues of women and children. The petition filed through Advocate Sandhya Raju states that political parties, media houses, film production sets etc. come within the definition of ‘workplace’ as per the 2013 Act. It submits that despite the passage of 5 years, no Internal Complaints Committee to deal with grievances of sexual harassment at workplace has been formed in these organizations. The non implementation of the Act was advancing gender discrimination and creation of hostile work environment. It is also highlighted that the Act mandates conduct of regular and periodic gender sensitization and awareness programs, which are not undertaken by most of the organizations.

Kerala Television Federation, Kerala Union of Working Journalists, Indian Newspaper Society, Film Employees Federation of Kerala,  BJP, Indian National Congress, CPI(M) etc. are arrayed as respondents in the PIL. It seeks directions to the State Government to ensure compliance of the provisions of the Act by the organizations.

Incidentally, the Court also considered today petitions filed by Women’s Cinema Collective(WCC) seeking formation of ICC in the associations of actors, technicians and producers in the film field. The petitions of WCC were adjourned to November 26 for the counter-affidavits of respondents.

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