View Poll Results: Do believe Sexual Harassment Bill is not gender baised
Yes it is Gender biased (please make statements supporting your views) 6 85.71%
No it is not Gender Biased (please make statements supporting your views) 1 14.29%
Voters: 7. You may not vote on this poll

At a time when the Sexual Harassment Workplace Bill is in focus and is soon likely to be made into a law, I have a very important point to raise, that deserves to be published and read by all readers. In its current format, the Bill is heavily skewed towards women’s interests, completely disregarding the fact that even men are increasingly being subjected to sexual harassment at their work place or are being wrongly accused of indulging in such an act out of sheer malice.

This write-up calls for Gender Neutral Laws in this case, to ensure that people with malicious intent do not misuse the laws in their current format to suit their ulterior motives.

In India, reams of newsprint have gone into championing the cause of women empowerment and demanding equal rights and opportunities for women, who have borne the brunt of male oppression for centuries. Stringent laws and punishments have been meted out to safeguard the interests and prevent harassment, abuse and torture against oppressed women. But, these same laws can and have been misused by cunning, conniving women to serve their ulterior motives in their bid to climb up the corporate ladder.

Our laws completely disregard the fact that in the urban areas, women today, are on an equal footing with women in their professional lives. There are plenty of instances that go unreported, where educated and scheming working women misuse the loopholes in our laws, like the Sexual Harassment at Workplace Bill (SHWB) to get back at their male counterparts.

The provisions in this Bill must be made gender neutral and any fake accusations and allegations, once proved, must be dealt with severe punishment.

The Anti-Sexual Harassment Bill and The Supreme Court’s Vishakha Guidelines on Sexual Harassment are irrelevant and not applicable to the times we are living in.

This bill and the guidelines were framed in the 90’s. The times have changed significantly, especially for women in metros. Today, women are a very active part of the workforce in India’s corporate world. And in most metropolitan cities in India, women are progressing in tandem with their male colleagues.

Given this situation, the fact that we continue to refer and abide by obsolete laws points to a serious deep crisis in the work place governance for leaders in any company within India. It has become difficult to combat manipulative women who use these outdated and prejudiced laws in our legal system to seek revenge and ruin the career of unsuspecting senior male executives who are threatened and forced to succumb to their demands.

The government has, for decades, ignored the good recommendations and proposals from the Supreme Court or the Law Commission owing to the pressure exerted on them by feminist groups and NGOs. Does the government even realize that the Sexual Harassment Workplace Bill (SHWB) can actually become like a fully-loaded revolver in the hands of any working woman who wants to settle scores because the law gives her the chance to hold a man to ransom by just a simple accusation of sexual harassment.

RTIs reveal that during the drafting of the Sexual Harassment at Workplace Bill, there were innumerable representations from the public seeking to make the bill gender neutral. Our Constitution does not mention anywhere that special provisions for women will be achieved at the cost of deliberate discrimination against men on grounds of gender, which is the essence of the Main Article 15 of the Constitution. And yet, the SHWB precisely flouts this very essence.

Instead of appointing people who have demonstrated a track record of high integrity and sound judicial approach, the bill rather intends to appoint people who “shall be committed to the cause of women”.

The use of the phrase ‘committed to the cause of women, in fact, finds mention in several places in the draft bill and its connotation only suggests that this will lead to not only inherent bias and prejudice against men in general, but will also result in frequently overlooking the merits of the case in order to provide some sort of reward to the woman.

In section 12(1), the Sexual Harassment at Workplace Bill states that if a complaint is found to be false, the committee “may recommend to the employer or the District Officer to take action against the woman or the person who has made the complaint”. In other words, the punishment for making a false Sexual Harassment in not mandatory, but discretionary, and would depend on the recommendation of members of such an NGO whose sole selection to the committee was dependent on their level of being “committed to the cause of women”.

This will lead to misusers walking scot-free in most cases and if at all, punishment is recommended, it will be nothing more than a rap on the wrist.

The Sexual Harassment at Workplace Bill in its present form and demand that the Sexual Harassment at Workplace Bill must be amended so that it does not violate Article 15 of the Indian Constitution and wrongly interpret Article 15(3).

We demand that:

a) The Sexual Harassment at Workplace Bill must be reviewed and amended immediately to make it Gender Neutral.

b) Severe punishment must be given to those who are responsible for ignoring the overwhelming public response and openly discriminating men and violating Article 15 of the Constitution of India, which prohibits discrimination against any citizen on the grounds of religion and sex as well as wrongly interpreting Article 15(3) of the Constitution, by exempting women from punishment for sexual harassment.

c) The mandatory inclusion of National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) as a watchdog group in every gender law-making committee so that men are not deliberately discriminated against, Article 15 of the Constitution is not violated again, Article 15 (3) is not wrongly interpreted and that the people’s opinions are not brutally trampled upon.

d) The mandatory inclusion of corporate bodies like FICCI , CII , ASSOCHAM and a corporate committee comprising an equal number of male and female members from the industry so that interests of both genders are kept in mind while drafting laws to truly achieve a equal opportunity workplace.

e) Involving external NGO based on legal knowledge and their background of delivering justice on merits and not merely being women’s rights champions.

f) Allowing the reporting of all cases, true or false accusations, in the media so that the magnitude of use or misuse can be measured.

g) Any fake accusations and allegations, once proved, must be dealt with the severe punishment as the amount of disrespect and defamation it would have by then caused to the working man is immeasurable.

h) Provision of any sort of settlement must be removed.

From India, Mumbai
Dear Genromito, Good writeup. There is essence of reality to your thought. Regards octavious
From India, Mumbai
Hi,
The fact is that normally women are being sexually harrassed by men and not men by women.
Article 15 is not to be involved here as this law is regarding the security of women from men. And hence, there is no gender discrimination.
And talking about "may" in sec 12. Interpretation of Statutes states that-
Although "may" is an enabling word it sometimes conveys an imperative sense. The word may is held imperative as it imposes duty.
Thus the phrase "court may pass a decree" means that court has no option but to pass a decree.
Regards,
Mr. Apurva Singh

From India, Mumbai
Dear Apurva,
I appreciate your views, on topic raised above, but your take on law is not correct. As far as sexual harassment is concerned, yes there are women in corporate world where people have used false sexual harassment charges to level scores and get even.
With changing times society has evolved, but law has seldom evolved. And if people with back dated views and philosophy see current world, then its matter of time, when even any female will charge a false sexual harassment case, against any male, just for revenge.
History is full of evidence, where people,society and civilizations have perished, because they didnt evolve with changing times.
Regards
Octavious

From India, Mumbai
Hi Octavious,
I respect your views too and I am not denying about the false allegations by women on men, but there are things to be proved, its not just that easy. You cannot deny about the fact that women are sexually exploited by men in organizations. Statistics shows there are negligent men who are being falsely exploited as compared to women. So this is an attempt to give a security to women. I am also in favour that if a women's complaint is found to be false she should be punished. But this bill is not a discrimination.
What we have done to stop discrimination between a Brahmin and Shudra, a white and a black, a rich and a poor.
These are more greater issues than the above. No one has raised points to stop these discriminations, I think it will not be a good sign to oppose this bill which is almost negligible in terms of discrimination.
If somebody is so eager to oppose discrimination in society, there are some major issues to be solved first.
Regards,
Mr. Apurva Singh

From India, Mumbai
Dear Apurva
I am not aware if you have gone through the bill, why dont you go through the same. There is no protections for men who are falsely accused under false sexual harassment cases by vindictive women.
Also, why dont we invite more members to debate the topic, because more people will give more views.
I am not against the bill or with the bill, but I am very much in support with the concern raised by genromito.
About other discrimination, its a different game and discussion all together, let not mix two different issue and get confused.
Comparing various other issues with one that is raised is pure mistake.
Society is full of imperfection, just because we cant make all imperfections change, doesnt mean, we should not try and change what we can.
Regards
Octavious

From India, Mumbai
I am no expert either in law or HR. My sister-in-law has labelled me as "Google Nash", as I am good at searching the web and keep learning or up-dating myself and help others. So, I am airing my views at the invitation by a member.

Discrimination based on age, colour, cast, sub-cast, region, language, looks, etc is age old. If we are aware of our own prejudices, then, hopefully, we will try and avoid discriminating. Taking Apurva's point it's Brhamins and the so called upper class that are being discrimiated against in the present age, by law.

Coming to the question of Sexual Discrimination and Harrasment, I quite agree that it's women that are harrassed more and discriminated against than men. However, men also face both discrimination and harrasment. For example, according to a recent study in Cyprus by Stefanos Evripidou at One in eight complains of sexual harassment in the workplace - Cyprus Mail <link updated to site home> ( Search On Cite | Search On Google ) one man for every three women complained of Sexual Harrasment. In India, where males are supposed to be stronger than the women, may be many men will not come forward to complain about the harrasment meted out.

I wonder why the act should not be "Sex Neutral" like the one at http://equalityhumanrights.com <link updated to site home> Such an act will cover all categories: male, female and neutral gender. Extract from this site is given as an example

"Women working in male-dominated environments, women with disabilities, lesbians and women from racial minorities are also more vulnerable, as are gay men and young men." (p.6).

From United Kingdom
Dear fellow members,

I have gone through the post by Genromito. Thanks for highlighting the issue.

The trouble with the post is that it is too verbose. The wordiness has killed the gist of the post. The most important paragraph in the entire write up is:

In section 12(1), the Sexual Harassment at Workplace Bill states that if a complaint is found to be false, the committee “may recommend to the employer or the District Officer to take action against the woman or the person who has made the complaint”. In other words, the punishment for making a false Sexual Harassment in not mandatory, but discretionary, and would depend on the recommendation of members of such an NGO whose sole selection to the committee was dependent on their level of being “committed to the cause of women”.

Yes, I too have objection with the phrase "may recommend" lest it may become a powerful tool to settle score. The correct wording should have been "if the allegations are proved false then strict action should be taken and punishment awarded should be at par with the sexual harassment by the male member".

Let me cite you one example. Couple of years ago, one story was making round at Yahoo groups. The incident happened in IT companies. Now in the IT companies the culture is little open. That time the famous Hindi film "3 Idiots" was making big waves. In the main song of this film, it is shown that these three idiots were slapping posterior. Now one of the IT professionals had made similar gesture towards one of the female colleagues. Both were not in good terms. Female employee immediately took objection against this gesture and raised complaint of sexual harassment. The gesture could have been ignored otherwise but not this time. The matter came up in front of sexual harassment committee. This committee censured the senior IT professional. However, cost to company was too high as this senior IT professional was quite demotivated and he put in papers.

Persons go to any length to settle personal score. Classic case is of Anuradha Gupta. She is officer in Foreign Office. Frustrated because of denial of the promotion, it is alleged that she passed on sensitive information while she was posted at High Commission of India, Islamabad. Now the case is in progress and she is cooling her heels at Tihar Jail as under trial.

What our jurisprudence says? It says that hundred guilty may go scot free but no innocent should be punished. Given the wording of the clause that Genromito has mentioned, there is a scope for wrong utilisation of this clause by unscrupulous elements.

By the way Genromito, you are from Namibia. From where you got all this information?

Thanks,

Dinesh V Divekar


From India, Bangalore
Dear Friends,

I am accepting the views of Mr. OCTAVIOUS and Mr. SIMHAN.

In practical the law of enforcement is very sensitive issue. One practical incident took place. One of the Edible Oil Packing unite there are 100 women workers are working in two shifts i.e. A (6.00am-2.00pm)and General (9.00am-5.00pm) shifts. In one of the batch some products were wrongly packed. The products were dispatched to the parties. While opening the packs it was found other articles were inside the package. Then the party rejected entire material. After investigation and enquiry two culprits (women) were found and they suspended from services after further enquire the removed from services. Immediately the next day the women culprits reported against the HR-Manager to their local leads “that the HR Manager misbehaved against me and also removed”. Then there was a big issue…………….. finally the HR Manager apologies and lost his job.

In this context no one listen what happened, but if a women giving any (false) information will be considered by the society.

Think twice before enforcement. The punishment should be equal ends.

Regards,

PBS KUMAR

From India, Kakinada
Dear All,

We can share as much information as we can pertaining to this topic. Is there any permanent solution to curb it? Yes, there is a permanent solution which is 1400 years old. It is implemented and practiced by few humans on this earth. Even today Humans are educated by EMINENT SCHOLARS on this topic. Its not just prescribed and promoted by ISLAAM strictly, it is also prescribed by all other religions.

Look at the culture being promoted by HUMANS. There is no use in discussing about GOVERNING LAW, because it is framed by HUMANS and MANIPULATED, MISUSED only by HUMANS. Both MALE & FEMALE are held responsible if they had shared or promoted the wrong activity.

I only blame HUMANS for everything but not ALMIGHTY. We(male & female) should know our limits and must be able to differentiate between GOOD AND BAD(EVIL). As long as DEVIL exist, we humans will be targeted and influenced by him. Perhaps my views may sound strange to you all. But, i am talking about FACTS.

The change management starts with "I". If we believe in educating others on RIGHT/GOOD THINGS, we can succeed in making people do GOOD THINGS. The most important thing is that "do we humans have FEAR OF ALMIGHTY?", if "NO", it is for sure that we are influenced by DEVIL and will commit MISTAKES, will keep doing WRONG THINGS, SINS etc.

It is we humans who need to action to live a better life by practicing ETHICAL PRINCIPLES OF LIFE. Last but not the least. Have faith in a religion that speaks FACTS and is helping HUMAN MANKIND to live a BETTER & SECURED LIFE. In the coming generations A FEMALE WILL RUIN THIS WORLD. SHE ALREADY STARTED RULING OUR LIVES. The precautionary measure to all MALE is to have COMPLETE CONTROL over their FEELINGS and be EMOTIONALLY STRONG

Forgive me if i am wrong.

With profound regards

From India, Chennai

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