- A government panel that looked into allegations of sexual harassment by some of the nation’s top wrestlers against Wrestling Federation of India chief found that there was no Internal Complaints Committee (ICC), as mandated by law under the 2013 Prevention of Sexual Harassment (PoSH) Act.
- As many as 16 of the 30 national sports federations of disciplines in which India has participated in the 2018 Asian Games, Tokyo Olympics in 2021 and Commonwealth Games, do not meet this mandatory compliance.
- And this, when there has been a record uptick in women’s participation in sports.
- Their number in the Khelo India Games, an index of this growing trend, showed a 161 per cent increase from 2018 to 2020.
What is the Internal Complaints Committee under the law?
- The ICC was designed to be the first port of call for any grievance under the PoSH Act to create a safe workplace environment for women.
- As per the law, it needs to have a minimum of four members:
- at least half of them women.
- A functional ICC is one of the key conditions set up by the Ministry of Sports to grant annual recognition to the federations.
The PoSH Act 2013:
- The POSH Act was enacted to protect against sexual harassment of women in workplaces.
- This Act makes it mandatory for employers to provide a safe and secure work environment to female employees.
- Employers must constitute an Internal Complaints Committee in their organisation to address complaints of sexual harassment.
- A woman must head the ICC.
- At least half of its members should be women.
- Employers must take steps to prevent sexual harassment and ensure that the victims are not victimised or discriminated against.
- Employers must provide necessary support and assistance to the complainant and make arrangements for her work in case she has to be transferred.
SOURCE: THE HINDU, THE ECONOMIC TIMES, PIB