The Sikkim Krantikari Morcha (SKM) has formed the first internal complaints committee by a political party in India.
The SKM formed the committee giving response to the call of Union Minister for Women and Child Development Maneka Gandhi who had urged all recognised political parties to immediately form internal complaints committee (ICC) to look into complaints of sexual harassment.
The Sikkim Krantikari Morcha has formed the committee assigning the role of chairperson to Kala Rai (women chief convenor) and seven others as members of the committee, stated Uttam Lepcha, vice-president, HQ & Administration, SKM, on his Facebook page on Monday.
The other members of the committee are: Pabitra Bhandari (journalist & general secretary of women’s wing) – member; Chung Kipu Lepcha (retired Principal) – member; Deoki Pradhan (president, Eshwaramma Social Welfare Association) – member; Sharmila Tamang – member; Dup Pintso Kaleon (retired Superintendent of Police) – member; L.B. Das (former Under Secretary, Election Department) – member and Babita Rai (advocate) – external member.
The SKM vice-president also stated that Section 4 of the POSH Act (Law on Prevention of Sexual Harassment at the workplace) mandated the formation of an ICC in every organisation hiring women.
The highlights of the Bill: The Bill defines sexual harassment at the work place and creates a mechanism for redressal of complaints; it also provides safeguards against false or malicious charges; every political party is required to constitute an internal complaints committee at each office or branch with 10 or more employees; the complaints committees have the powers of civil courts for gathering evidence and the complaints committees are required to provide for conciliation before initiating an inquiry, if requested by the complainant.