15/10/2018 12:10 PM IST | Updated 16/10/2018 5:58 PM IST

Justice Verma Panel Wanted Employment Tribunals, Not Internal Committees, To Deal With Sexual Harassment At The Workplace

The committee's report said that an ICC would be 'counter-productive' as dealing with complaints in-house could discourage women from filing them.

A file photo of late Justice JS Verma.

NEW DELHI--The Justice JS Verma Committee had recommended creating an employment tribunal to receive and adjudicate all complaints of sexual harassment instead of the Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) mandated under the Sexual Harassment at Workplace Law because it considered the latter "counterproductive", The Hindu reported.

In its report, the three-member committee formed after the gang rape of a student in New Delhi in 2012, said that an ICC under the sexual harassment at workplace law, which was yet to be passed by Parliament then, would be "counter-productive" as dealing with such complaints in-house could discourage women from filing complaints. Instead, the committee suggested the creation of an employment tribunal to receive and adjudicate complaints from all workplaces, the report said.

Recently, the Ministry of Women and Child Development said that it would task a new committee to look at the legal and institutional framework to handle complaints of sexual harassment. It was an implicit acknowledgment, drawn from the assertions of the Me Too movement, that the existing frameworks, though created only half a decade ago, were insufficient to tackle the problem.

The previous committee was chaired by Justice Verma and also included Justice Leila Seth and senior lawyer Gopal Subramanium. According to the The Hindu's report, the committee termed the Sexual Harassment Bill "unsatisfactory", saying that it did not reflect the spirit of the Vishakha guidelines, which were framed by the Supreme Court in 1997.To ensure speedy disposal of complaints, the Justice Verma Commitee had also proposed that the tribunal should not function as a civil court but may choose its own procedure to deal with each complaint.

Read the full report here.