Law should take its own course: Meira Kumar

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Kolkata, Nov 23 (IANS) Stressing that the law should prevail in the Tarun Tejpal alleged sexual assault case, Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar said Saturday there should be committees to address safety concerns of women in workplaces in accordance with the Vishakha Guidelines.

“I think law should take its own course and whatever needs to be done according to law, must be done expeditiously,” she told reporters on the sidelines of an event here.

Tehelka founder and editor-in-chief Tarun Tejpal, 50, has been accused of sexually assaulting a junior woman colleague twice in a hotel elevator during the Tehelka ThinkFest, a high profile conference organised by the weekly magazine in a north Goa hotel earlier this month.

Speaking at the interactive session organised by MCC Chamber of Commerce and Industry here, Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar referred to the Vishakha judgment by the Supreme Court that laid down the guidelines for employers for dealing with complaints of sexual harassment/assault at the workplace.

“There is this Vishakha case, and in our Parliament, I have made a grievance cell and inquiry committee for the safety of women in the secretariat. I think all places where women are working should have this kind of a system,” Kumar said.

The Vishakha judgement stipulated that all organisations would form a complaints committee headed by a woman employee with not less than half of its members being women.

All complaints of sexual harassment by any woman employee would be directed to this committee which would advise the victim on further course of action and also recommend to the management the course of action against the person accused of harassment.

“Any incident where the dignity and security of women is compromised is “something of great concern…and it should not happen…our tradition and culture does not allow it,” said Kumar.

She highlighted the stringency of the existing laws post the Delhi gangrape case.

“As the speaker, I would say in our Parliament also in last December, the house unanimously passed a resolution and existing laws were made stringent,” she said.

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