'Will Consider Including Sports in Sexual Harassment Bill'

New Delhi, July 23 (IANS) Women and Child Development Minister Krishna Tirath Friday said including sports in the ambit of the bill against sexual harassment at the workplace would be discussed, especially in the wake of the charges levelled against former women's hockey team coach M.K. Kaushik.

"We will see how to include the field of sports in the sexual harassment bill," Tirath said here.

Tirath added that the ministry would ask the National Commission for Women (NCW) to undertake an inquiry on the issue.

"I will ask the NCW to start an inquiry. Any decision on further action will be taken only after an inquiry report is submitted to the ministry," Tirath said.

Talking about the Protection of Women Against Sexual Harassment Bill, the minister said that it may not be presented in the coming monsoon session, as cabinet approval is still pending.

"We are waiting for cabinet approval. If we get it we may introduce it in the present session (beginning Monday)," Tirath said.

The bill, which was first drafted in 2007, will be the first legislation to address the issue.

Official sources, however, told IANS that the draft bill is still undergoing inter-ministerial consultations.

"The bill has been circulated for consultation with various stakeholders. Once this is through, it will be presented for cabinet approval. It may not be done before the winter session (of parliament in November)," an official said.

Till now, all sexual harassment charges in India have been dealt with on the basis of guidelines set by the Supreme Court in a 1997 judgment.

The draft bill also includes a clause that brings students, research scholars, patients and women in the unorganised sector within the ambit of the proposed law.


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