MUMBAI: As the alleged sexual harassment case of women employees at All India Radio (AIR) reaches new heights, the Delhi High Court has issued a notice to the centre and Prasar Bharati CEO on a PIL seeking steps to ‘stop the sexual harassment and exploitation’ of female radio presenters at the FM Gold channel of AIR.
Issuing notices to Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and CEO of Prasar Bharti, a division bench of Chief Justice D Murugesan and Justice V K Jain sought response from them on the issue by 15 May.
The PIL filed by social worker Meera Mishra stated that she came to know of the sexual harassment of employees of the FM channel through media reports. The PIL mentions this complaint, adding that the AIRBPA plans to file a similar complaint with the National Commission for Women (NCW).
The plea was filed by advocate Sugriv Dubey who said that though these employees have been working with the channel for more than 15 years, they are sexually harassed and their services sometimes terminated without assigning any reason.
The PIL mentioned, “Female workers working under the control of respondents (I&B Ministry, Prasar Bharti) are being regularly either harassed or terminated from employment and those workers do not have the capacity to approach the court. Their right is being evaded and no one is there to stop the sexual harassment of these employees.”
The petition demanded that ‘strong measures’ should be taken by the central government and Prasar Bharti to stop the sexual discrimination, exploitation and harassment taking place in the offices of AIR throughout the country.
It said ‘adequate measures’ to ensure the safety of the women employees on night shifts were not being taken by the department.
The PIL prayed the court to direct the centre and Prasar Bharti to formulate concrete policies and guidelines in respect of the service conditions and other protections as required to female workers by the department.
It also asked that Prasar Bharti should implement the Vishakha Guidelines laid down by the Supreme Court pertaining to sexual harassment at the workplace, and sought that the ministry set up a committee to investigate all allegations of sexual misconduct.
As reported by Radioandmusic.com earlier, the All India Radio Broadcasting Professionals Association (AIRBPA) had filed a complaint with the Delhi Commission for Women stating that they were facing sexual harassment at AIR’s FM Gold. The complaint alleged unprofessional behaviour by the programme executives at the radio station, and specifically named FM Gold director general Leeladhar Mandloi for ‘attacking the self respect’ of the women presenters.
The AIRBPA has also stated that the staff on duty was sometimes intoxicated and misbehaved with the women employees, ‘but officials of AIR are not bothered about it’.
Inspite of repeated attempts, AIR officials remained unavailable for comment at the time of filling the report.
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