Ministry asks IOA, NSFs to frame rules on sexual harassment

New Delhi, Feb 22 (PTI) In a bid to curb sexualharassment of women sporstpersons, the Sports Ministry wantsnational federations to frame strict rules, includingprovisions of filing criminal complaints with appropriateauthority if required.

The National Sports Bill, which is to be debated duringBudget session of Parliament, provides for a ComplaintsCommittee to be headed by a woman and with not less than halfof its members being women.

A third party, either an NGO or other body, which isfamiliar with the issue of sexual harassment, should also bethere in the Complaints Committee.

The IOA and all the NSFs have been directed to takenecessary action as per the guidelines within one month fromthe date of notification of the Act and also to issuesimilar instructions to their State and District federations.

"With a view to addressing complaints concerning sexualharassment of women sportspersons and to promote healthyenvironment in sports, a need has been felt to put inplace, an effective redressal mechanism to deal-with theissue," the ministry said in the Draft Bill posted on itswebsite under the heading ''Guidelines for Prevention of SexualHarassment of Women in Sport''.

"Hon''ble Supreme Court, in Vishakha and Others vs Stateof Rajasthan and Others laid down guidelines and norms to beobserved to prevent sexual harassment of working women ... itis the duty of the employer or other responsible persons inwork places or other institutions to prevent or deter thecommission of acts of sexual harassment and to provide theprocedure for resolution, settlement or prosecution of acts ofsexual harassment by taking all steps required."

The Ministry said the Parliamentary Standing Committeeattached to Ministry of Sports has also raised issues aboutthe mechanism within various sports bodies and the Ministry todeal with cases of sexual harassment of women sportspersons.

"The Government, after taking the above into account, hasconcluded that it shall be the responsibility of NationalSports Federations and other sports bodies to prevent sexualharassment of women in sports and to ensure their safety. AllNSFs, including IOA, are therefore, directed to takeappropriate measures, as per the Vishakha judgement issued bythe Hon''ble Supreme court to prevent sexual harassment ofwomen in sports sector. All institutional sports promotionboards are also requested to take action in this regard," thedraft bill said. .

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