Happy #MeToo movement has reached India, but shouldn't be used to 'target people who've offended us', says Maneka Gandhi

Minister for Women and Child Development Maneka Gandhi on Monday said she is glad a #MeToo movement has started in India. She also expressed hope that "it won't go out of control, in the sense that we target people who've offended us in some way".

Maneka said that a lot of steps have been taken to empower women to speak up, and she is happy that the #MeToo campaign has begun in the country. "One always remembers the person who molested you and we have written to the law ministry that one should be allowed to complain without any time limit," she said.

Under Section 468 of the CrPC, any offence, including child abuse, which can lead to a prison term of three years has to be reported within three years of the incident. According to Section 473 of the CrPC, a court may take cognisance of an older case if it is in the "interest of justice" or if the "delay has been properly explained". However, victims of child sexual abuse often face problems in registering an FIR once they are 18 or more.

Maneka said she has proposed that people can complain even "10-15 years later". "It doesn't matter how much later. If you're going to complain the avenue is open," she added.

She also talked about the number of steps taken by her ministry. "First, we launched 'I am trolled', which can be used by women to alert relevant government agents when they are threatened with physical violence on social media. Then, we also made sexual harassment committee mandatory in every company where there are more than 10 employees," she said.

She added that the companies, in their financial return, will have to reveal if they have started with the committee or not.

The minister had earlier said that "harassment of any kind will not be tolerated". News18 quoted her as saying, "We were the first government to start 'SHe-Box' on social media, and women who wrote to us saying they are harassed, we took action immediately."

This sexual harassment electronic Box (SHe-Box) is an effort by the government to provide women single-window access, irrespective of their work status, regardless of whether they work in the organised or unorganised, private or public sector, to facilitate registering complaints related to sexual harassment.

Any woman facing workplace sexual harassment can register their complaint through this portal. Once a complaint is submitted to the SHe-Box, it will be sent directly to the concerned authority with jurisdiction to take action into the matter.

With inputs from agencies

Updated Date: Oct 08, 2018 14:14:54 IST



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