New Delhi, February 13
In an astounding decision, the Sports Authority of India (SAI) has transferred the lady doctor who had lodged a harassment complaint against a male physiotherapist.
What is startling in this case is that the SAI top brass did not follow the guidelines under the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition, and Redressal) Act, 2013, also known as ‘POSH ACT’ to safeguard women at workplaces as they did not forward the complaint to the Internal Complaints Committee (ICC).
Instead, the SAI formed a three-member committee of its own that had two female members and held an enquiry, where they found that “both parties complained against each other and it emerged that there were disciplinary and behavioural issues with the lady doctor while there were issues of rude behaviour with the physiotherapist. There also emerged interpersonal behavioural issues between the two parties.”
“Based on the hearing, it was decided by the committee to transfer both parties out of Delhi. While the physiotherapist has been transferred to Guwahati, the doctor has been transferred to Gandhinagar,” the SAI said in a statement.
When asked why the matter was not referred to the ICC, the SAI explained: “The written complaint received from the lady doctor did not indicate sexual harassment. The matter was therefore placed before a committee for preliminary examination, which included lady members.”
“Even during the hearing there were no allegations made by the lady doctor of sexual harassment,” the statement added.
Dr Payoshini Mitra, CEO Global Observatory for Gender Equality & Sport, said the case showed how the world of sports dealt with such issues.
“Sports officials have a myopic view. If they really cared about making sports safe, they wouldn’t just transfer an accused rather suspend him until investigation is complete. It’s a huge risk to let an accused go and work at some other centre making those girls and women equally vulnerable to abuse. A transfer therefore is a token action that authorities with myopic vision would take,” Mitra told The Tribune from Lausanne.
“This helps them brush off responsibility, and makes their own centre safe. There should be no place for disrespect and abusive behaviour towards girls and women and young people in general. Sports centres need to take such a complaint seriously and deal with it in a way that improves the overall safety of young people and women in Indian sport,” Mitra added.
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