New Delhi, Nov 29 (PTI) Companies will soon have to disclose whether they have constituted an internal complaints committee (ICC) on sexual harassment as the government is planning to amend its rules to make the move mandatory, Union Minister Maneka Gandhi said today.
The measure will help the government monitor whether organisations are complying with the Sexual Harassment at Workplace Act, 2013, which requires any entity with 10 or more employees to compulsorily set up an ICC to look into complaints of sexual misconduct.
Women and Child Development Minister Gandhi, who has been pursuing this issue with the Corporate Affairs Ministry for the past two years, announced on Twitter that the government would revise its rules under the Companies Act, 2013.
"I am deeply grateful to Arun Jaitley ji and Ministry of Corporate Affairs for considering our request to amend relevant rules under the Companies Act, 2013, for women’s safety," she tweeted.
A ministry of women and child development official said the Corporate Affairs Ministry had informed it in a letter that "they will amend the rules" before the end of this financial year.
Companies will have to disclose whether they have set up a committee in their annual reports, the official said.
The revision of rules will hold the Board of Directors directly accountable and they will have to "report on the constitution of ICC," Gandhi said in another tweet.
The ministry had earlier also launched a portal for sexual harassment complaints at work for both private and government sector employees and the latest move is expected to help the government address complaints more effectively.
There has been a lot of back and forth between the two ministries over the past two years on amending rules under Companies Act. Corporate Affairs Minister Arun Jaitley had earlier turned the suggestion down on the grounds that industry representatives were against enhanced disclosures.
Under the Sexual Harassment at Workplace Act, an ICC should consist of a presiding officer who is a woman employee at a senior level in the same organisation, at least two employees "preferably committed to the cause of women", and a member from an NGO or a person "familiar with issues relating to sexual harassment".
The committee would have powers similar to those of a civil court and have to complete its inquiry within 90 days. An employer who doesn't constitute an ICC could face a fine of up to Rs 50,000.
Disclaimer :- This story has not been edited by Outlook staff and is auto-generated from news agency feeds. Source: PTI