With the #MeToo #TimesUp movement catching on in the film industry, the Producers Guild of India has amended its by-laws to make it mandatory for members to implement the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act (PoSH) 2013. The resolution was passed unanimously on Wednesday at the guild’s extraordinary general meeting (EGM) in Mumbai. It would be binding now for all the members to implement the requisite laws, including constitution of internal complaints committee (ICC). They would also need to submit a declaration to the guild confirming enforceability of PoSH guidelines within their respective organisations.
“It is heartening to see the unanimous support that our members have extended to the initiatives taken by the guild to help make workplaces in our industry safe for women. We are committed to working with our members to ensure compliance with the PoSH guidelines,” Siddharth Roy Kapur, president of the Producers Guild of India, said.
Prior to the EGM, the guild conducted a workshop highlighting various provisions required to be executed under the PoSH Act. The objective of the EGM and the workshop is not only to educate members on the legal provisions of the Act, but also to sensitise them to the growing need to implement robust processes at their workplaces.
A handbook on the PoSH has also been brought out in association with Complykaro, an end-to-end compliance service provider that helps companies comply with their legal obligations. It claims to be a market leader in the PoSH advisory with a clientele of over 400 companies.
“In most of my interactions, the recurrent theme is the lack of awareness of what exactly sexual harassment amounts to and who should the aggrieved person go to,” Vishal Kedia, founder and director of Complykaro, wrote in the handbook.
He said this is where the law is of significance. “In one fell swoop, the law has projected India forward, not only in the office, but in general life too. The definition of sexual harassment covers all verbal, non-verbal, and physical misconduct. The accountability of both complainant and accused lies with the organisation which has been authorised to create a complaints body to deal with such issues. By enabling such a redress mechanism, India has ensured that women can receive speedy and private resolution of their issues. Most essentially, by making the sensitisation of all employees mandatory, we are educating today’s workforce on appropriate conduct in the office or on sets of production, and by logical extension, their lives,” he wrote.
The handbook covers various facets — from the definition of sexual harassment to the Supreme Court’s Vishakha guidelines to the evolution of the law; from important definitions and case studies, the various features of the law and the misconceptions about it to the redress and inquiry procedure, the internal complaints committee, obligations of the employer and consequences of non-compliance.
Meanwhile, on Thursday, the Screenwriters Association (SWA) organised a screenwriting workshop on gender sensitisation by writer-filmmaker Paromita Vohra, who is also the founder and creative director of Agents of Ishq , a digital project about sex and love in India. The SWA had organised a workshop on the PoSH for its executive council members on October 27.
On Tuesday, the Cine and TV Artists Association (CINTAA) expelled Alok Nath, a month after the actor was accused of rape by writer-producer Vinta Nanda. In a statement, the CINTAA, which had previously sent a show cause notice to Mr. Nath, said, “In view of the allegations of sexual harassment and misconduct against Mr. Nath, after due diligence and consideration, the executive committee of the CINTAA has decided to expel him from the association.”