30 Dec 2013

Sexual Harassment of Women Sports-Persons

Shri Jitendra Singh
The Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Youth Affairs & Sports Shri Jitendra Singh has said that during the past, a few cases of sexual harassment of women sportspersons in various sports bodies were received by the Government. 
 While action on such complaints including seeking reports from the concerned NSFs and giving suitable advice to NSFs was taken by the Government, state-wise data is not maintained.
In a written reply in the Rajya Sabha today Shri Jitendra Singh said, in order to bring in transparency and good governance in sports bodies, the Government has issued guidelines which, inter-alia, provide for prevention of sexual harassment of women in sports.  These guidelines are contained in the National Sports Development Code of India, 2011 (NSDCI) which are effective from 31.1.2011. 

 Under these instructions, the National Sports Federations (NSFs) are to take the following steps:

(i)                Notify, publish and circulate in appropriate ways, express prohibition of sexual harassment.

(ii)             Include rules/regulations prohibiting sexual harassment in their rules and regulations and provide for appropriate penalties in such rules against the offender.

(iii)           Provide appropriate conditions in respect of work, leisure, health and hygiene to further ensure that there is no hostile environment towards women and no employee woman should have reasonable grounds to believe that she is disadvantaged in connection with her career.

(iv)           Women should be allowed to raise issues of sexual harassment in appropriate forums and it should be affirmatively discussed.

(v)             Complaint Mechanism: The NSFs should set up a complaint mechanism for redressal of the complaint made by the victim. Such complaint mechanism should ensure time bound treatment of complaints.

(vi)           Disciplinary Action: Where such conduct amounts to misconduct, appropriate disciplinary action should he initiated in accordance with rules.

(vii)        Criminal Proceedings: Where such conduct amounts to a specific offence under the Indian Penal Code or under any other law, the NSFs shall initiate appropriate action in accordance with law by making a complaint with the appropriate authority.  In particular, it should ensure that victims or witnesses are not victimized or discriminated against while dealing with complaints of sexual harassment.  The victim of sexual harassment should have the option to seek transfer of the perpetrator or their own transfer.

(viii)      Complaints Committee: The complaint mechanism referred to in (g) above, should be adequate to provide, where necessary, Complaints Committee, a special counselor or other support service, including the maintenance of confidentiality.  The Complaints Committee should be headed by a woman and not less than half of its member should be women.  Further, to prevent the possibility of any undue pressure or influence from senior levels, such Complaints Committee should involve a third party, either NGO or other body who is familiar with the issue of sexual harassment.

(ix)           Awareness: Awareness of the rights of the female employees in this regard should be created in particular by prominently notifying the guidelines in a suitable manner.

(x)             Third Party Harassment: Where sexual harassment occurs as a result of an act or omission by any third party or outsider, the NSFs will take all steps necessary and reasonable to assist the affected person in terms of support and preventive action.

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