Landmark win for WCC: Kerala High Court orders Malayalam film sets to have sexual harassment panel under POSH Act


Kerala High Court has ordered Malayalam film production houses to form an Internal Committee (IC) as per the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013. The order was passed on Thursday, March 17, after the court a public interest litigation filed by the Women in Cinema Collective, who had pleased that a grievance redressal mechanism needs to be established in the Association of Malayalam Movie Artists (AMMA) and in other organisations like the Film Employees Federation of Kerala (FEFKA).

The bench comprising of Chief Justice S Manikumar and Justice Shaji P Chaly read out the operative part of the judgment in court and said that AMMA has agreed to constitute an IC and other cine organisations with more than 10 members must have a cell as per the mandate. The media houses have also been directed to set up an IC.

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The Women in Cinema Collective was formed after the sexual assault case of 2017 in which actor Dileep is a co-accused came to surface. The organization aims to fight against gender disparity in Malayalam cinema and as a part of this, went to court in October 2018 asking for internal committees to be set up in Malayalam movie organisations as per the POSH Act.

The PIL was initially filed by WCC and the state of Kerala and AMMA were named as respondents. The Centre for Constitutional Rights Research and Advocacy joined the petition and stated that the internal committee must be a part of media houses and political parties. The Kerala Women’s Commission also joined the plea strengthening it and urged the state government to ensure that AMMA sets up an IC in accordance to the Vishakha guidelines and the POSH Act.

Apparently, AMMA which had been resisting forming a committee for years, backtracked and formed one only last week just before the order was pronounced but still does not have an external member as is required and has said that this will be done later.

(Source: News Minute)