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UP govt expands scope of Vishakha Committee

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UP govt expands scope of Vishakha Committee

Lucknow, March 29 (Ajit Weekly News) In order to curb the exploitation and sexual harassment of female government employees in the workplace, the Complaint Committee (Vishakha Committee) within the Uttar Pradesh Secretariat has been restructured as the ‘Internal Complaint Committee’.

Earlier, only the employees of the Secretariat Service were included in the scope of this committee. However, under the revised structure, the entire Secretariat is considered a single unit, encompassing all officers and employees except those belonging to the IAS cadre.

Leena Johri, the Principal Secretary of the AYUSH and Stamp and Registration Department, has been appointed as the Chairperson of the committee. This decision is expected to enhance the safety and security of women employed within the secretariat while also boosting their self-confidence.

The Complaint Committee was constituted by the Secretariat Administration on February 4, 2021, with the aim of addressing instances of sexual harassment against women in the workplace.

Initially, its jurisdiction was confined solely to Secretariat Service personnel. However, the scope has now been expanded to encompass all officers and employees from various service cadres stationed in the Secretariat, excluding IAS officers. This extension includes members from the Secretariat Service Cadre, Provincial Public Service, and Indian Forest Service.

As per the office memorandum issued by the Secretariat Administration, Leena Johri, who serves as the Principal Secretary of the AYUSH and Stamp and Registration Department, will assume the role of chairperson of the committee. Additionally, the convening member of the committee will be the Special Secretary/Joint Secretary of the Secretariat Administration.

Jai Prakash Bharti, Special Secretary, Information Department, has been named a member of the committee. Furthermore, the Association for Advocacy and Legal Initiatives (AALI) has been included in the committee as a non-governmental organisation (NGO). AALI is recognized as a feminist legal advocacy and resource group dedicated to women’s causes. The committee was formed in 2021.

In 1997, during a case hearing, the Supreme Court introduced guidelines aimed at preventing sexual harassment in the workplace, commonly referred to as the Vishakha Guidelines.

The Court directed that these guidelines should be followed as law as per the Indian Constitution. Later, these guidelines became the basis of a de facto law called the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013.

In accordance with a government directive issued by the Uttar Pradesh Women and Child Development Department in 2014, the Secretariat Administration had established a Complaint Committee on February 4, 2021, to address the issue of sexual harassment faced by women in the workplace.

–Ajit Weekly News

amita/dpb


News Credits – I A N S

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