New Delhi: National Commission for Women, probing the allegations of sexual harassment against a top Prasar Bharti official, has said that the organisation does not have a proper complaint redressal mechanism.
In its report submitted to the Information and Broadcasting Ministry, National Commission for Women said there is no proper complaint redressal mechanism or internal complaint cell in the organisation which is mandatory as per the Supreme Court guidelines.
NCW, which had taken suo motu cognisance of media reports on the allegations, said during its inquiry it found that the victim is highly traumatised and the lack of support service has resulted in “victim blaming” attitude among fellow employees who have made “it difficult for her to walk in the premises of Doordarshan”.
It said the victim and other women employees of the organisation lacked awareness of the company’s Women’s Cell or its activities.
NCW said during its inquiry, three more women came forward claiming they were sexually harassed by the official but they never complained as they were not aware of any mechanism being in place and were scared of losing their jobs because of his seniority.
The inquiry committee said in the present case, the findings of the Women’s Cell were treated as preliminary inquiry, even though the WC report clearly states that a prime facie case of sexual harassment is made out against the respondent.
NCW also said it has found “serious lapses” on the part of Prasar Bharati in handling the allegations by the junior employee.
When the committee had visited the organisation, it had found that the accused official had not been suspended on the grounds of manpower and infrastructure.
The report said these reasons were unacceptable and amounted to “grave injustice” to female employees as there is a “likelihood of him influencing witnesses and adversely affecting the inquiry”.
NCW had on October 9 submitted its report to Secretary of the Information and Broadcasting Ministry which had taken serious note of the matter and sought that action be taken as per the procedure laid down in the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013.
It is mandatory that a complaint mechanism, a special counsellor or other support service be provided where necessary, which in the present case does not exist, the National Commission for Women report said.
The Committee recommended that Prasar Bharati should provide utmost protection to the victim to ensure that she does not face any stigma or “victim blaming” attitude within the organisation.
She should be counselled and given full support if she wants to go ahead with the police complaint, the report said.
The woman employee had complained against Doordarshan official of Additional Director General (ADG) rank in July but no action was taken till the issue became public.
Prasar Bharati had on October 3 suspended the accused official and asked a senior woman official, who is higher in rank than him, to conduct further proceedings in the matter.
NCW had taken suo-motu cognisance of media reports and conducted inquiry into the allegations.