So did you want harsher punishment for all ‘crime against women’ following recent Delhi incidence and as a reward our govt. has given you this. Now check how this can ruin your life (and that of your future generation as well).
At the outset the very name ‘Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace’ tells us that this law only considers women as the victims. Men, no matter how much they become victim in workplace they will NEVER be able to register a complaint under this section. This brings in a sense of insecurity among men especially when we know this kind of harassment is actually display of power and not necessarily display of emotions. Now you may be thinking that this never happens to men and hence men should not bother. I remember a case from one of my recent organisations where a girl proposed multiple times to a manager knowing fully well that he is married and have a kid. This guy informed HR and when HR spoke with her she still said she was in love. Well he is out of this danger now but imagine a similar situation after the SHWB is implemented. Not only this man will never be able to punish her for her misconduct but for rejecting such an offer he may get sexual harassment case instead.
Lets’ look into the definition of ‘sexual harassment’ as elaborated in section 3 of the bill –
“…physical contact, advances, sexually coloured remarks, showing pornography, sexual demand, request for sexual favours or any other unwelcome conduct of sexual nature whether verbal, textual, physical, graphic or electronic or by any other actions…”
So do you think no women today intentionally hugs men or makes sexually coloured remarks at the workplace? Do you think they don’t make any unwelcome move? Well these are not objectionable under this law and as we have experienced in various family laws even if women are at fault, they will still file false complaint against men.
But the definition is not limited to the above, it also includes these points –
(i) implied or overt promise of preferential treatment in employment; or
(ii) implied or overt threat of detrimental treatment in employment; or
(iii) implied or overt threat about the present or future employment status;
(iv) conduct which interferes with work or creates an intimidating or offensive or hostile work environment; or
(v) Humiliating conduct constituting health and safety problems.
Now that we know a man’s employment can be terminated under this law, who do you think can threaten for detrimental treatment in workplace? Or thus causing threat to present or future employment?
Now take the fourth (iv) point into consideration – it says ‘creates hostile work environment’. So now NO manager can ask his women employees to –
i. overstay to complete some work or
ii. be in certain team with some members (may be women too) whom she doesn’t like or
iii. give any challenging work assignment or may send her to some location she doesn’t want.
All of these will be considered as creating hostile or intimidating work environment. Already we have many cases where women filed false cases just to stop their transfer or for getting their bosses transferred.
Now let me give another info that probably you have still not noticed. This law encompasses all vendor, contractors and even your housemaids. So no matter what your conduct have been with any of these women you may be accused by anyone of these. Are you thinking about the misuse clause will save you? Well we will discuss that in just a bit. Before that let’s see how in your workplace (>10 people working) committees will be formed where women can raise such complaints –
Under this act every employer will be responsible to make committee consisting of following members –
A. Chairperson – a senior level woman employee or someone from a sister organization or a women’s NGO committed to the cause of women.
I know you don’t find anything wrong with this unless you know –
i) In a recent sting operation TV9 channel in Bangalore exposed some women NGOs who just wanted to extort money by filing false cases by women and
ii) There are NGOs like ‘Shakti Bahini’ in Delhi, that forced a woman to file false rape case against a man to extort money from him. This was caught during court trial and now a police investigation is going on against this NGO
So now you know that when a company doesn’t have a sufficiently senior women employee to be a chairperson of such a committee, it needs to employ someone from an NGO who will not do any productive work for the organization but only look into these matters. Now probably you can understand that these women in order to show their work will compel other women in the organization to file such cases even on trivial matters and corporate India will see employees fighting among themselves due to this and a falling productivity. This is even more serious as women employees can’t be asked to work harder or be given tougher assignments now and men employees will have to take care of all challenging tasks and still undergo such pain many a times even without doing anything.
B. Not less than two members committed to the cause of women.
C. One member from a women’s NGO or similar organization. – You can understand that now since this is a new business opportunity created by our govt. we will see many more NGOs coming up for women as this will be an easy way to earn money for many people even without any qualification. Because to be a part of a women’s NGO they don’t really need to be qualified enough.
So you see that now each corporate house invariably need to recruit people from women NGOs either as a chairperson or as members and need to pay them for creating disturbance within the organization.
Other than this committee the local govt. authorities will create local committee to cater to all those small enterprises or domestic helps. A model similar to the one proposed in DV Act 2005 is proposed here, where a protection officer will take care of all such cases and women themselves don’t need to bother about following up or seeing the execution of the same.
We know that conviction rate in our DV cases is less than 0.5% (in a recent speech our WCD minister told this to the parliament). We already know how much of taxpayers’ money is sucked into to maintain such huge number of false DV cases. Now we have yet another mechanism through which the same money will be channeled through these NGOs to different heads. So men pay taxes to create laws for their own extortion.
Now this law also provides facility that on behalf of the woman any of her legal heir or anyone else can raise a complaint. In all such cases the identity of the complainant will be kept secret. And there may be multiple complaints (by multiple legal heirs) registered against a man.
Let’s look into the redressal process as described in this law.
First step in redressal mechanism is conciliation. Here on request of the woman the committee will try to settle the matter between the two and if settled will not inquire further and close the matter with conciliation report and send the same to district authorities. If you still not understood, let me clarify – this will be like payment of alimony to estranged wife nowadays. No matter what husband does, no matter whether the wife is working or adulterous the husband end up paying maintenance to her under 498a and DVA. Simply based on her complaint.
Second step in the redressal process is inquiry when the first step fails. In this period when the inquiry is in progress the complainant may be –
Transfer the aggrieved woman or the respondent to any other workplace; or
Grant leave to the aggrieved woman; or
Grant to the aggrieved woman any other relief which may be prescribed. Provided that no woman shall be transferred except on her own request or suspended. and
The leave granted to her under this section will be in addition to the leave she would be entitled to otherwise if the case is proved
Did you notice the last two point above? So now whenever a woman wants she will get transferred to her preferred location or get her boss transferred. Also this leave is over and above the leave she normally gets. Since the employer is at a loss of her productivity during this period, don’t you think employer will try to hurry up and finish the inquiry quickly and in most cases it will be the male employee who will be found guilty. This is because it will be the safest approach for the employer to avoid future issues. Also in a committee where we have mostly members from women’s NGOs do you really think men will ever expect justice and unbiased inquiry from any of these committees unless they are really powerful in the organization?
The punishment for any such misconduct will be according to the service rules of each corporate and if that is unavailable then the following will apply –
i) Written apology from the respondent
ii) Suspend him w/pay and allowances for maximum 15 days period
iii) Terminate him
iv) Attach respondent’s salary (shall not exceed 25% of his that month’s income)
v) Revocation / suspension of any licences
vi) Cessation of a beneficiary
vii) Any other step as prescribed (so this is open ended)
Compensation to the woman will be determined considering the following factors –
i) Mental trauma, pain etc.
ii) Loss of career opportunity due to harassment
iii) Medical expenses of the victim due to physical or psychiatric treatment (nothing for the man if he gets mental trauma due to a false case)
iv) Income and financial status of the respondent (so it is better to accuse CEO/VP rather than the associate)
v) Feasibility of such payment in lumpsum or in instalments.
If any such amount is not paid by the respondent, then the district collector or DM can sell the property of the respondent or recover the money from the employer.
Punishment for failure to make such payment –
a. Upto three months imprisonment or upto two thousand rupees fine or both. With an additional fine of Rs. 100 for every day during which the contravention happens
b. And for not obeying the above order, he will have to undergo imprisonment upto six months or a fine between Rs. 500 to Rs. 2000 or both.
You may be thinking that the misuse clause will save you or other innocent men, so let’s look into that – per section 16 of the bill the committee or the local committee may recommend punishment for false complaints or false evidence produced but it is upto the employer or district officer to punish. Also as this punishment doesn’t match the consequences the respondent would have faced if the allegation were proved against him, makes this law surely liable to misuse at random.
I can only give example from section 498a of IPC where instead of 98% of such cases being false (Even Supreme Court has agreed about the misuse many a times) and there are at least four different sections being present for punishment under any false complaints, so far NO woman is ever punished for such misuse.
Another deadly provision in this law is that it is kept outside the purview of RTI ACT, 2005. This will stop anyone getting any information on such false complaints and thus it will always be projected as very successful law. Only the male employees who undergo the pain will be aware and think that it was their BAD LUCK and there are many true cases.
The identity of complainant will be kept secret and thus no respondent will know which woman colleague has filed the false case against him and such false complainants will keep on doing their crime several times in same office or in different workplaces to extort money from their male colleagues. It will be IMPOSSIBLE to trace these errant women by the system.
Before I end, I would like to bring your attention to a recent survey conducted by The Economic Times and their research found that in all cities in India this crime is gender neutral and women are as culprit as men. There were 527 people queried in the survey across seven cities in the country -Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Mumbai and Pune. Findings are –
Bangalore – Half of who agreed that they have been sexually harassed at their workplace said they have been harassed by their female colleagues. Only 32% said that they were harassed by Male colleagues.
Hyderabad: – 29% of said they have been sexually harassed by their female bosses while 48% accused their male bosses.
Delhi: – Numbers are even, with 43% pointing a finger at their female colleagues and an equal number accusing their male colleagues of sexual harassment.
38% of the respondents agreed that in today’s workplaces, even men are as vulnerable to sexual harassment as women. In Hyderabad and Mumbai, 55% of the respondents agreed to this point.
Many of the corporate and PSUs, ET spoke to, agree to this new trend and point out that many male employees do not come out in the open and file complaints because they feel they will not be believed, considering India’s social beliefs. They usually seek a transfer to get out of the situation or find a new job.
In an era when women take pride in displaying their sexuality openly or display their sexual emotions in public and feel empowered, when globally we have gender neutral sexual; harassment laws, when our ‘Sexual Assault’ (erstwhile rape law) or ‘Child Sexual Assault’ laws are gender neutral and above all when corporate India feels the need of gender neutral ‘Sexual Harassment at Workplace law’ as depicted by the survey done by ET, our WCD ministry has deliberately made this law gender biased thus creating huge room for its misuse at all levels.
It is our corporate honchos and India’s global corporate who are in target now. We have already seen a breakdown of our family system over the last two decades under gender biased laws, we have seen huge suicide by men and their families (suicide rate of married men is double compared to married women suicide rate) and we are about to witness another jump in suicide rate among corporate India or even other men who employed women maids. I remember a recent case from Pune where the maid was caught red handed by the mother of a four year old boy while she was sexually exploiting the boy. Mother raised a complaint with the police and the maid slapped a rape case against the father after a few days. Well such a father will now get another case against him.
Another concern under such circumstances is that other men using women as their pawns to file such cases in our offices and homes and settle scores with other men. This dangerous nexus between feminists and extortionists will lead to an end to India’s dream of being a superpower.
It is not only men who will suffer. Women who are connected with these men will also suffer. Imagine your daughter married to a high earning man and eventually he getting such a complaint against him and undergoing such trauma. Even though the allegations are not proved his name will be out in public (not the false complainant’s name) and due to this he may commit suicide. And if he commits suicide and before paying the dues, his family (that is your daughter) pays his dues. Will you be able to tell your daughter that you are responsible for his death, because you wanted harsher punishment for all women related crimes?
Very recently (in July 2014) even Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) found this law illegal –
We MRAs have found this illegal when the law was first introduced. It is good to see that even CAT found the same recently. Now for those of you who wanted stricter laws for women related crimes, created sustained hype for cruel punishment without understanding the consequences or what kind of laws were in pipeline – hope you will be able to give satisfactory answers to yourself or to your future generation for the mess you have created. ALL THE BEST!!
are responsible for your future.