The Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) has recently amended the service rules in this regard. Special leave up to a period of 90 days may be granted to an aggrieved woman government servant during the pendency of inquiry under the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013, the new rules said.

 

The leave granted to the aggrieved woman employee "shall not be debited against the leave account", it said. These leaves will be in addition to those already given to the central government employees. The special leaves in this case will be given on the recommendation of the internal committee or the local committee, formed to look into such charges, the rules said.

 

The move comes as there have been complaints of accused trying to influence or threaten victims of sexual harassment in a few cases.

 

The move is aimed at trying to keep the victims safe from harm’s way.

 

 

Well, here we go – Somewhere a beginning has been made- small though it maybe. Women employees with the Central Government are being given 90 days leave in case they become subject to an unfortunate event like sexual harassment.

 

This move, however, well-intentioned it may be proves to be of little consolation to women in such cases. Yes, this period may help them get to grips with the reality of the situation or even recover in a way but what instead of just assuring their safety for these 90 days why not Department of Personnel and Training suggest the government on making a law wherein the culprit is caught and sentenced within this time period?

 

Does the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace guarantee that after 90 days the victim will not be intimidated?

 

This will be of more help to such women who become the target of sexual harassment at the workplace. In many cases as previously seen, the victim is silenced and quietly shipped off to obscurity while the perpetrator still enjoys his position in the company and while at it does the same with other unsuspected female employees smug in the knowledge that nothing will happen to him.

 

Furthermore, there are times when the accused is suspended for a time period and as soon as the matter dies down, they re-enter the system while the victim remains at home afraid to face society and her colleagues and more often than not be blamed for the whole incident herself.

 

Sorry, to say but a little proactive investigation and faster results will be of far greater help than the 90 days leave. In the case of the allegations of sexual harassment against the TVF CEO Arunabh Kumar, what is being done about it? The victim chose anonymity, and despite that there were threats to her, even her former employers decided to threaten her rather than properly investigate before making a knee-jerk announcement.