182% Rise in workplace harassment complaints in Maharashtra in past 6 years, reveals women commission data

182% Rise in workplace harassment complaints in Maharashtra in past 6 years, reveals women commission data

The data reveals that harassment cases rose from 194 in the year 2017-18 (April-March) to 548 in 2022-23, while sexual harassment cases increased from 22 to 37 during the same period.

Ashutosh M ShuklaUpdated: Wednesday, May 17, 2023, 10:18 PM IST
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Maharashtra State Commission for Women chairperson Rupali Chakankar | File Photo

Complaints of "harassment" and "sexual harassment" in the workplace have witnessed a significant increase in Maharashtra, according to data provided by the Maharashtra State Commission for Women (MSCW). Over the past six years, harassment cases have risen by 182 percent, while sexual harassment cases have increased by 68 percent.

2019-20 saw highest cases of sexual harassment

The data reveals that harassment cases rose from 194 in the year 2017-18 (April-March) to 548 in 2022-23, while sexual harassment cases increased from 22 to 37 during the same period. The year 2019-20 witnessed a peak in sexual harassment complaints, with 44 cases being filed. The data was obtained through an RTI application filed by Jeetendra Ghadge, who sought information on pending complaints with the commission, among other details.

Ghadge received information in eight categories, including marital problems, court matters, dowry deaths, social problems (harassment, rape, etc.), property-related issues, sexual harassment in the workplace, workplace harassment, and others. Complaints related to marital and social problems accounted for the highest share of total complaints, each representing over 25 percent of the total complaints in 2022-23. Marital problem complaints reached 2,819 out of a total of 10,146 complaints, while social problem complaints stood at 2,803. In earlier years, these categories accounted for up to 43 percent of the total complaints. In 2022-23, the "other" category received the highest share of complaints, encompassing various issues where women felt targeted due to their gender.

Pending complaints surge

Pending complaints have also seen a notable increase, rising by 46.86 percent over the past six years, from 3,799 in 2017-18 to 5,840 in 2022-23. The highest number of pending complaints was recorded in 2021-22, with 5,866 cases. Ghadge expressed concern over the growing number of pending cases and urged the Women's Commission to focus on providing justice and assistance to the complainants.

Rupali Chakankar, chairperson of MSCW, did not respond to inquiries, while an official from the commission highlighted that the high number of harassment cases reflects the existing problem. The official also mentioned that the counseling process can prolong cases, contributing to the backlog of pending complaints.

Harassment at workplace 

2017-18 - 194

2018-19 - 273

2019-20 - 360

2020-21 - 241

2021-22 - 425

2022-23 - 548

Sexual harassment at workplace 

2017-18 - 22

2018-19 - 32

2019-20 - 44

2020-21 - 29

2021-22 - 24

2022-23 - 37 

Pending complaints  

2017-18 - 3,799

2018-19 - 5,586 

2019-20 - 4,765 

2020-21 - 4,826 

2021-22 - 5,866 

2022-23 - 5,840 

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