SC constitutes 10-member body to look into sexual harassment complaints

The Supreme Court on Tuesday constituted a 10-member committee headed by its woman judge, Justice Ranjana Prakash Desai, to deal with complaints of sexual harassment within its precincts.

Chief Justice of India P Sathasivam formed the Supreme Court Gender Sensitisation and Internal Complaints Committee (GSICC) in which there are six other female members. There are two members who are outsiders and not connected with the apex court in any manner.

 SC constitutes 10-member body to look into sexual harassment complaints

Supreme Court. IBNLive

The panel is in consonance with the guidelines laid down by apex court in its judgement in Vishaka case for dealing with complaints of sexual harassment at workplace. Under the guidelines, it is required that the panel has a majority of female members and two members of civil society nominated by the Chief Justice of India.

"In exercise of power conferred by clause 4(2) of The Gender Sensitisation and Sexual Harassment of Women at the Supreme Court of India (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Regulations, 2013 and all enabling provisions in this behalf, the Chief Justice of India has been pleased to constitute the Supreme Court Gender Sensitisation and Internal Complaints Committee(GSICC)," the office order said on Tuesday.

The committee includes three male members-- Justice Madan B Lokur, sitting apex court judge, senior advocate L Nageswara Rao and Prof Dr G Mohan Gopal, Director of Rajiv Gandhi Institute for Contemporary Studies, who is the nominee of the CJI and is an outsider.

The women members are senior advocate Indu Malhotra, advocate Bina Madhavan (representative of Supreme Court Bar Association), B Sunita Rao (representative of Supreme Court advocates-on-record Association), Madhu Chauhan, (representative of Supreme Court Clerks Association) and Bharti Ali (Co-Director, HAQ : Centre for Child Rights, New Delhi) has been appointed as a nominee of the CJI and is an outsider.

Rachna Gupta, Additional Registrar, will be the member Secretary of the committee. Bharti has been working on issues related to women and children since 1991. She is the founder and Co-Director of HAQ: Centre for Child Rights. She has also been the National Convenor of CACT (the Campaign Against Child Trafficking in India), since its initiation till 2005.

Prof Dr G Mohan Gopal is also a Member of Academic Council, National Judicial Academy India. Member, Judges Inquiry Committee appointed by the Chairman, Rajya Sabha (2011).

The setting up of the committee comes close on the heels of a law intern's allegation of sexual harassment against a recently-retired Supreme Court judge. The allegation is being probed by a three-judge panel set up on November 12.

Women lawyers including Additional Solicitor General Indira Jaising had urged CJI to reconstitute the committee to go into the law intern's allegation saying it should be in accordance with the Vishakha judgement, whose guidelines require that the panel should be presided by a woman and at least two-third of its members should be women.

The Supreme Court in October had put on its website the guidelines framed to deal with sexual harassment complaints within its precincts.

As per the notification on "The Gender Sensitisation ~~amp;amp; Sexual Harassment of Women at the Supreme Court of India (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal), Regulations, 2013" "aggrieved woman means, in relation to the Supreme Court, any female, of any age, whether employed or not, who claims to have been subjected to any act of sexual harassment by any person in the Supreme Court of India precincts but does not include any female who is already governed by the Supreme Court service regulations."

PTI

Updated Date: Nov 26, 2013 20:34:38 IST