In order to ensure fair and timely redressal of sexual harassment complaints, Jawaharlal Nehru University is all set to revamp its policy in this regard.
The policy rehaul assumes significance in wake of a statement made by HRD Minister Smriti Irani in the Lok Sabha, informing that maximum number of complaints of sexual harassment in educational institutions have been reported in Delhi.
JNU which has Gender Sensitisation Committee Against Sexual Harassment (GSCASH), a central body which deals with complaints of this nature from across the university departments, already has a draft of the revised policy in place.
The draft prepared by the GSCASH has been sent to the Vice Chancellor and will be placed before the varsity’s Academic Council (AC) and Executive Council (EC) in its next meeting.
“We observed that the sexual harassment policy we have at JNU needed to be updated in accordance with the 2013 guidelines of the Supreme Court,” Geeta Kumari, a GSCASH member told PTI.
The proposed draft has different clauses for “Sexual Harassment at workplace” and “Sexual harassment in Academic Spheres”.
“It has also been proposed that we do away with the earlier clause that every enquiry committee constituted to hear the sexual harassment complaint will be headed by a female member only,” she said. JNU 2 LAST
The body has also proposed increasing the number of elected members by double.
“We have suggested that the current strength of 10-14 members should be increased to 20-24 members,” Geeta said.
The proposed policy also takes into account provisions for false complaints.
“If the committee finds that a complaint registered by a person is false, he or she will be served a show-cause notice to detail the reasons behind doing so,” Geeta added.
GSCASH was instituted by the university in 1999 under the Vishaka guidelines of the Supreme Court.
The panel, headed by a Chairperson, has representatives from JNU Students Union (JNUSU), JNU Officers’ Association (JNUOA), hostel wardens, faculty and administrative staff.
The body has three major functions: gender sensitisation and orientation, crisis management and mediation, and formal enquiry and redressal.
Installation of sanitary pad dispensers, identification of third gender in the university admission forms are among the many key changes brought in recent years by the GSCASH.