The state Prison Department has set up a four-member committee to look into cases of workplace sexual harassment complaints. While a committee has already been formed in May this year to look into the cases of workplace harassment, the second committee will focus on complaints against senior officials.
The four-member committee will be headed by Deputy Inspector General Swati Sathe and comprise Deputy Superintendent of Byculla Prison Aruna Mugutrao, project director with the prison department headquarter Varsha Kanikadale and Deputy Superintendent Sunil Dhamal. The committee will be reconstituted after the completion of the one-year period, said prison department officials.
A senior official said, “The prison department has seen cases of workplace sexual harassment, and senior officials have faced accusations. The formation of this committee was the need of the time. It is something that all the government departments can take a lesson from.”
A circular, issued in this regard by Additional Director General of Police Rajwardhan last week, stated, “As per the provisions of the Sexual Harassment of Women and Workplace (Prevention and Redressal) Act 2013, the committee was constituted on May 17, 2018. However, there was no committee to look into the complaints made against the officials of superintendent, acting superintendent rank and other senior officials of the department. Thus a committee is being established, which will have a tenure of one year.”
The circular further reads, “Women officers and staffers working with the prison department can approach the committee if they have complaints of workplace harassment against officers of superintendent, acting superintendent rank and other senior officials.”
There are nine high-security central prisons and 45 district prisons, including prisons for women, in Maharashtra.