In March this year, the Kerala High Court held that film production houses are also under an obligation to form an Internal Committee (IC) under the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition, and Redressal) (PoSH) Act, 2013. In pursuance of this order, the Malayalam film Neelavelicham has constituted an IC on its set to enable people to report cases of sexual harassment, if any.
In its order, the Court also held that related associations, including the Film Employees Federation of Kerala (FEFKA) and Kerala Film Chamber of Commerce, shall also constitute IC as mandated by the Act.
What were the directions passed by the Court?
The order of the Kerala High Court directed the following:
Since the production unit of every film is an establishment that employs actor artists and other workers, they must constitute an IC as contemplated by the PoSH Act, 2013 if there are more than 10 employees engaged in the establishment.
If 10 or more workers/employees are engaged in the work of managing office establishments, IC must be constituted if there are female workers working for wages or not.
In case any organization related to the film industry has less than 10 workers/employees, then aggrieved parties, if any, are entitled to make sexual harassment complaints to the Local Committee (LC) according to Section 6 read with Section 9 of the PoSH Act, 2013.
Request to film industry related organizations to constitute a Joint Committee for redressal of sexual harassment complaints
Kerala HC also conveyed its desire that the organisations associated with the film industry such as the Association of Malayalam Movie Actors (AMMA), FEFKA, Kerala Film Chamber of Commerce, and Kerala Film Producers Association, constitute a joint committee. This committee may include the members of organisations in accordance with the provisions of the PoSH Act, 2013 to deal with sexual harassment of women.
The constitution of such a committee would assuredly render sufficient confidence to female artists and other employees/workers employed by the film’s production unit. Consequently, the dignity of the women can be protected and the right to life and personal liberty of the women in the film industry can be made more meaningful and fruitful.