Anti-sexual harassment panel attends to property disputes!
At a time when at least ten state government departments inthe district are yet to put together panels to deal with complaints of sexual harassment and ensure safety of female employees, donning the hat of a Samaritan, the divisional administration is attempting to unravel thirteen cases it has received from the districts of Pune, Satara, Sangli, Kolhapur and Solapur
However, representatives of this panel said that instead of solving cases of crime against women, the committee is forced to deal with property-related issues of women, which don’t come under its jurisdiction.
“Women and their relatives are taking advantage of this panel; they come to us with cases pertaining to streedhan (the wealth and other belongings of the bride has brought from her parents’ home) and property related issues,” said district women and child development officer Suvarna Jadhav, who is also on the panel.
Jadhav added that women also approach the committee with the cases that are sub judice. She said that the group is certainly not supreme compared to the courts, and therefore ‘we the panel members couldn’t handle such matters’.
The third committee meeting was held on Monday in which five cases from the thirteen received complaints were forwarded to the police for further inquiry, while the officials are expecting final decisions in the remaining eight cases. The panel is supposed to come out with its judgments on complaints filed by the women and the state government’s current policy.
Divisional Commissioner Prabhakar Deshmukh said that owing to the refusal from concerned authorities to look into women’s complaints, they (victims) approached the district administration with the hope that their grievances would be addressed through the committee.
However, only issues pertaining to crime against women come under the panel’s purview. “We had received three fresh complaints, and we immediately send these to the cops along with previous two for further investigation. Likewise, a decision is expected soon on the other nine cases, on which we have been working since the last two meetings of the panel,” said Deshmukh.
Women’s Democracy Day
The district administration conducted the first meeting of Women’s Democracy Day in May, which has been receiving overwhelming response from the women seeking advice, counsel and justice from the state government for any kind of victimisation, injustice or violation of their rights. Such victims can now make a petition to the divisional commissioner’s officer.