JAMMU: With the objective of generating awareness on Gender related issues and raising sensitization on the provisions of the Sexual Harassment of Woman at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2018, a one day awareness programme on the topic ‘Gender Sensitization at Workplace-Issues and Challenges’ was organized by High Court of J&K and Ladakh (Sexual Harassment Probe Committee) in association with J&K Judicial Academy and J&K Legal Services Authority at Judicial Academy Complex, Jammu.
The awareness programme was held under the inspiring vision of Justice Pankaj Mithal, Chief Justice, High Court of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh, (Patron-in-Chief, J&K Judicial Academy) , guidance of Justice Dhiraj Singh Thakur, Chairman and other Judges of Governing Committee of Jammu & Kashmir Judicial Academy, and the directions of Justice Sindhu Sharma, Judge, High Court of J&K and Ladakh , Chairperson, Sexual Harassment Probe Committee for the members of Gender Sensitization &Internal Complaints Committee(GSICC) and Gender Sensitization& Local Complaints Committee(GSLCC) of districts of Jammu province and district Leh. The programme was attended by the participants physically as well as through virtual mode.
The awareness programme was inaugurated by Justice Sindhu Sharma, Judge, High Court of J&K and Ladakh. U.K. Jalali, Sr. Advocate, High Court of J&K and Ladakh, Shahzad Azeem, Director, J&K Judicial Academy, M.K. Sharma, Member Secretary, J&K Legal Services Authority, Prof. Vishav Raksha, Head Department of Sociology and Director, Centre for Women’s Studies, University of Jammu and Swati Gupta, Civil Judge (Sr. Division) were the resource persons in the programme.
In inaugural address, Justice Sindhu Sharma highlighted the importance of generating awareness on the pertinent issue of sexual harassment at workplaces and underscored the requirement of gender sensitization for both men and women. She also stressed that women in society are expected to perform multi-lateral roles, yet they have to face discrimination of various sorts in all walks of life. She also impressed that sustained confidence making efforts and preventive measures must be undertaken to ensure safety of women at workplaces.
Seema Khajuria Shekhar, Sr. Advocate in her keynote address said that we must adopt a zero tolerance policy towards sexual harassment of women at workplaces. She highlighted the importance of understanding the concept of being Gender sensitive and reminded the members of Gender Sensitization& Internal Complaints Committee and Gender Sensitization& Local Complaints Committee of the crucial role to be played by them.
Shahzad Azeem, Director, J&K Judicial Academy presented the welcome address and gave an overview of the programme. He described Gender Sensitization as a stepping stone towards the construction of a socially balanced society and underpinned the importance of creating a gender sensitive environment for establishing and maintaining healthy and safe performance oriented work culture.
M.K. Sharma, Member Secretary, J&K Legal Services Authority while proposing vote of thanks also underscored the effective use of the Sexual Harassment of Women at Work Place (Prevention, Prohibition & Redressal) Act, 2013 which is possible through generation of awareness.
In the second session, resource person Prof. Vishav Raksha educated the participants on Gender issues including Gender discrimination. She also discussed the dimensions and types of sexual harassment at workplace and explained its concept in detail. She also explained the importance of prevention of Sexual Harassment at workplace elaborately with the help of practical anecdotes.
In the third session, Swati Gupta, Civil Judge (Sr. Division) discussed Vishaka Guidelines and other important judicial pronouncements with the help of PowerPoint presentation.
In the fourth session, resource person U.K. Jalali, Sr. Advocate elaborately discussed the provisions of Sexual Harassment of Women at Work Place (Prevention, Prohibition & Redressal)Act, 2013 and Gender Sensitization and Sexual Harassment of Women at High Court and sub-ordinate Courts of J&K(Prevention, Prohibition & Redressal) Regulations, 2016. He educated the participants regarding the procedure and mechanism which is to be followed while dealing with complaints of sexual harassment within their respective jurisdictions
In the fifth session, a mock inquiry exercise was undertaken by the participants who were given hypothetical case situations for practice and understanding as members of complaints committees. The mock exercise was followed by an interactive session during which the participants deliberated and discussed the various aspects of the subject topic and raised queries which were satisfactorily settled by the resource persons.