Stu­dents set to be part of anti-sex­ual ha­rass­ment pan­els in Mum­bai col­leges

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - FRONT PAGE - Puja Ped­nekar puja.ped­

All col­leges will have to re­con­sti­tute their an­ti­sex­ual ha­rass­ment pan­els to in­clude stu­dents as mem­bers, while prin­ci­pals or de­part­ment heads will be ex­cluded, states the Ma­ha­rash­tra women com­mis­sion, which is cur­rently hold­ing aware­ness work­shops for col­leges, schools and even cor­po­rate of­fices.

This might en­sure vested in­ter­ests do not in­ter­fere with probes into such com­plaints and make stu­dents feel com­fort­able in re­port­ing in­stances of ha­rass­ment, said ex­perts.

Un­der the Uni­ver­sity Grants Com­mis­sion’s no­ti­fi­ca­tion on May 2, 2016, ti­tled pre­ven­tion, pro­hi­bi­tion and re­dres­sal of sex­ual ha­rass­ment of women em­ploy­ees and stu­dents in higher ed­u­ca­tional in­sti­tu­tions, col­leges have to set up in­ter­nal com­plaints com­mit­tees (or anti-sex­ual ha­rass­ment pan­els).

Three of the nine mem­bers of th­ese pan­els must be stu­dents — boys and girls — said Vi­jaya Ra­hatkar, women’s com­mis­sion chief. “Pre­vi­ously, col­leges were re­quired to have only five mem­bers on the panel, but now they will have to in­clude stu­dents,” said Ra­hatkar.

This panel has statu­tory pow­ers un­der the Code of Civil Pro­ce­dure, 1908, to sum­mon any per­son, who is the com­plainant, vic­tim or wit­ness, examine them and record their state­ments. “Un­for­tu­nately, many of the col­leges have not set up such pan­els or are un­aware about their work­ing pat­tern,” said Ra­hatkar.

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