The petition filed at the Kerala High Court demands a panel in line with the Vishaka Guidelines and the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace Act, 2013.

WCC files writ petition urges Kerala HC to spur creation of ICC at AMMA
Flix Sexual Harassment Wednesday, October 17, 2018 - 13:08

The Women in Cinema Collective (WCC) has filed a writ petition in the Kerala High Court, urging the court to spur the Association of Malayalam Movie Artistes to institute an Internal Complaint Committee, in line with the Vishaka Guidelines and the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013.

The WCC is seeking the establishment of a grievance redressal mechanism against sexual harassment. The petitioners are WCC's actor Padmapriya, the the authorised signatory, and its president-actor Rima Kallingal, and the respondents are the state of Kerala, Special Secretary of Women and Child Development, and the Association of Malayalam Movie Artistes (AMMA).
 
According to the petition, AMMA's failture to create an ICC "leaves its members helpless and without any adequate remedy against sexual harassment directed against them in the professional context."

"This omission of [AMMA] is striking at a time when revelations of widespread sexual assault and harassment of women in film industries across the country have come out.”

Addressing parts of the Vishaka Guidelines and the Sexual Harassment Act, 2013, the petition concludes that AMMA is bound to "constitute a grievance redressal mechanism in the form of a complaints committee against sexual harassment."

Earlier this week, actor Siddique, representing AMMA, said that he didn’t find a need to have an Internal Complaints Committee in any of the film sets he worked in.

The petition also quotes a previous instance when a writ petition against a similar association in ‘Charu Khurana v. Union of India’ was filed. The Supreme Court had then said that gender equality was recognised as a fundamental right and the association cannot take the route of discrimination solely on the basis of sex.

“[AMMA]'s omission violates the member’s fundamental rights under Articles 14, 15, 19 and 21 of the Constitution of India. Additionally, the nature of the work undertaken by actor artistes is such that they have no alternatives to seek similar redressal. Further, [AMMA] is obliged by its own bye-laws to protect the rights of its members and act as arbitrators in disputes between them,” it says.

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