In­dia’s #MeToo calls for law en­force­ment

The Maui News - - WORLD -

NEW DELHI — A com­plaint by a re­tired Bol­ly­wood ac­tress liv­ing in the United States al­leg­ing sex­ual ha­rass­ment on a 2008 movie set has gal­va­nized women in In­dia, but for the coun­try’s bur­geon­ing #MeToo move­ment to reach broader swaths of so­ci­ety, lawyers and ac­tivists say a la­bor law must be more ag­gres­sively im­ple­mented.

In­dian Women’s Press Corps Pres­i­dent T.K. Ra­jalak­shmi said at a panel dis­cus­sion in New Delhi on Thurs­day that the out­pour­ing on so­cial me­dia re­flects “a lack of faith in the sys­tem.”

The Sex­ual Ha­rass­ment of Women at Work­place Act of 2013 says that In­dian work­places can be held li­able for sex­ual ha­rass­ment, and must cre­ate com­mit­tees to in­ves­ti­gate and re­dress com­plaints. But crit­ics say the law is not typ­i­cally en­forced.

But nearly five years since the law came into ef­fect, not enough man­agers or em­ploy­ees are aware of it, in part be­cause of a lack of cor­po­rate and po­lit­i­cal mes­sag­ing, said Naina Ka­pur, the at­tor­ney who ar­gued the Vishakha case be­fore the Supreme Court.

For the move­ment to take hold in a broader strata of In­dian so­ci­ety, the 2013 sex ha­rass­ment law must be im­ple­mented more broadly, said Su­ni­eta Ojha, a lawyer who reg­u­larly con­ducts work­shops on the law.

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