The Sports Ministry on Thursday said the POSH Act, 2013 (Sexual Harassment at Workplace) is applicable to all National Sports Federations and in the last three years, only four NSFs have reported complaints of such nature.
Sports Minister Anurag Thakur made the disclosure during a written reply in Rajya Sabha on Thursday.
“(Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) (POSH) Act, 2013 are applicable to all National Sports Federations (NSFs), as applicable to any entity defined in the Act. The NSFs are bound to take action in terms of the extant legal provisions in the cases of sexual harassment reported to them.
“The Ministry has also issued instructions to all NSFs from time-to-time on the prevention of sexual harassment in sports,” Thakur wrote in his reply during the question hour in Rajya Sabha.
“Based on the information provided about complaints of sexual harassment during the last three years and the current year by the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) and all the presently recognised NSFs, four NSFs have reported complaints of sexual harassment,” he added.
Wrestling, which is in news for the past few months due to the alleged sexual harassment charges levelled against outgoing federation chief Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, is one of the four NSFs. The others are cycling, sailing and gymnastics.
“The Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports had issued detailed instructions on 12.08.2010 to all NSFs for taking necessary action for compliance with the guidelines laid down by Supreme Court in the case of Vishakha and Others vs State of Rajasthan and Others,” Thakur further wrote.
“Pursuant to the enactment of the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) (POSH) Act, 2013, the provisions of the POSH Act 2013 are applicable to all NSFs. The NSFs are bound to take action in terms of the extant legal provisions in the cases of sexual harassment reported to them.” Thakur also said that the ministry has again written to the IOA and the NSFs in January 2023 to re-examine their structure and policies in terms of the said Act and make necessary changes and modifications.
“The Ministry has also asked the IOA and the NSFs to sensitise their office bearers, coaches, administrative staff, and players about the prevention of sexual harassment of women in sports.” He added that the Sports Authority of India (SAI), an autonomous body under the administrative control of the Sports Ministry, has issued specific instructions to ensure a safe and positive environment by making all stake-holders aware that there is an expectation, at all times, of appropriate behaviour consistent with the core values of sportsmanship and moral conduct.
“In order to provide a safe environment in sports, the SAI also runs a 24x7 helpline for the players.” The guidelines issued by the ministry to all the NSFs includes a women coach to be mandatorily be a part of the contingent with female athletes during domestic and international camps and competitions.
Besides the appointment of a Compliance Officer (male and female) in all national coaching camps and foreign exposure trips, and pre-camp sensitisation modules to be designed and presented to all athletes, coaches and support staffs together before commencement of any national coaching camp and foreign exposure tours.
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