NA passes law against women harassment
By: Javaid-ur-rahman | Published: January 22, 2010
ISLAMABAD - The National Assembly on Thursday passed “The Protection against Harassment at Workplaces Bill 2009”, to create a safe working environment for the women free of harassment, abuse and intimidation with a view to fulfil their right to work with dignity.
The house also incorporated amendments moved by Dr Attiya Inayatullah into the bill.
Congratulating the House after passage of the Bill, Speaker National Assembly Fehmida Mirza said that it was beauty of democracy that government did not oppose amendments proposed in the bill.
Minister for Law and Parliamentary Affairs Dr Babar Awan said that the incumbent government was all committed for the rights of the women.
Minister further said that those who assassinated Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto did not succeed to stop her motion to empower women of the country. A number of steps were taken by the PPP governments in the past for the rights of the women. The lawmakers of different parties appreciated the bill describing it a way forward to bring 51 per cent population to mainstream.
The members from opposition parties including the PML-N and PML-Q also advocated the policies of their parties towards the protection of women rights. They also supported the government in its initiatives
Under this law every organisation would have to constitute a three members inquiry committee with at least one women as member within 30 days of the enforcement of this act to enquire into complaints under this act.
The committee would have to initiate proceedings within three days of receipt of complaints and give its findings in writing to the competent authority within 30 days of initiation of inquiry. If the inquiry committee finds the accused to be guilty it will recommend the competent authority penalties specified in this law which include reduction to a lower post, compulsory retirement, removal from service and dismissal from service.
The respective govt would have to appoint an ombudsperson at the federal and provincial levels who has been a judge of a high court or qualified to be appointed as judge of a high court. The complainant would have option to refer a complaint either to the ombudsperson or the inquiry committee.
Any person aggrieved by a decision of ombudsperson within 30 days of the decision can make an appeal to the President or the Governor.
Under the new law the employers have been bound to ensure implementation of this act, incorporate the code of conduct for protection of employees from harassment as part of their management policy and form the inquiry committee of the organisation.
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