An RTI query has revealed that the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has received 21 complaints of sexual harassment till August 4, 2016 and an average of 32 have been registered each year since 2013.
The data was provided by BMC’s Public Information Officer & Administrative Officer Rekha Kale to RTI activist Anil Galgali. In his application, the activist had asked for information about the number of complaints along with the status of each complaint. He had also sought information about the individuals against whom the complaints were made.
Per the reply, 21 complaints were recorded in 2016 and 31 in 2015. Earlier, 34 and 32 complaints were recorded in 2014 and 2013 respectively.
Galgali told a leading daily, “The data provided by the Complaints Committee set up for the purpose under the Savitribai Phule Women’s Development Centre exhibits an intolerable level of such complaints. There were 34 complaints in 2013, 32 in 2014 and 31 in 2015. What is alarming is the refusal of the civic body, which claims to have disposed of all complaints registered in the past three years, to provide data on implementation of orders of the vigilance bodies.”
As for the status of each complaint, the civic body claimed to have addressed all complaints received in the previous years. However, 4 complaints from this year were still ‘pending’. The civic body set up a 16-member committee back in 2009 to oversee such complaints. The committee has heads of various departments and includes ten women and six men.
In its reply, the BMC refused to disclose the names or designations of individuals against whom complaints were registered, including the ones who were found guilty, in accordance with Section 13 of the Working Women’s Sexual Harassment Prevention Act 2013. However, it said that those found guilty were immediately removed from the department.
Galgali has reportedly written to BMC chief Ajoy Mehta asking him to make the details of offenders public on the civic body’s website.