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Saturday , 25 May 2019
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Victims can get information about sexual harassment cases within 48 hours: CIC

The Central Information Commission (CIC) has ruled that information about sexual harassment cases should be given to victims within 48 hours. The commission reasoned that such information may be necessary for safeguarding the life and liberty of victims, which is why it should be provided within 48 hours. It has been mandated in the RTI Act that if the matters concerns life and liberty, the information should be provided to the applicant within 48 hours and not 30 days. Announcing the decision, Information Commissioner Sridhar Acharyulu said, “Information sought by the appellant/complainant of sexual harassment relating to inquiry report etc. has to be classified as information related to life and liberty, because both of these rights are threatened by sexual harassment.”

The decision was given after hearing a plea filed by a woman who had claimed sexual harassment at workplace. The woman worked at the Council of Certificate and Industrial Research, and she had alleged that she was sexually harassed by another scientist working in the same organization. The woman had filed an RTI application to know the status of her complaint, but the same was denied on the grounds that the case was still under investigation. It was denied based on a provision of the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013. Responding to this, Acharyulu said, “If a third person wants to know the detailed information about sexual harassment, this provision could be used to deny it. But it cannot be denied to the complainant.”

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