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DGCA asks airline CEOs to follow Vishakha guidelines after ‘numerous’ sexual harassment complaints

NEW DELHI: Aviation regulator DGCA has told CEOs of all airlines to strictly follow the Vishakha guidelines to deal with the cases of sexual harassment in their respective organisations, according to an official communique.

The DGCA, in a letter to the CEOs on Wednesday, stated that it has received “numerous” complaints from women working as pilots, cabin crew and in other technical areas regarding sexual harassment by their senior colleagues.

“All the airlines are hereby advised to ensure strict compliance of the Vishakha guidelines. They should also give wide publicity about this committee among the employees to facilitate hassle-free reporting and disposal of matter in accordance with relevant national regulations,” the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) said.

The regulator told the CEOs that the Supreme Court, in the Vishakha case, had laid down the guidelines for dealing with “such situations”.

It pointed out that one of the Vishakha guidelines requires all organisations to have a “Complaint Committee” consisting of members from a “third party”.

“Action taken in the matter please be intimated within two weeks from the date of the issue,” the DGCA instructed.

Along with its one-page letter to the CEOs, the aviation regulator also attached a four-page copy of Vishakha guidelines.

In 2019, Air India and its subsidiaries Alliance Air and Air India Express received 10 sexual harassment complaints in total, Union Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said in written reply to a question in Lok Sabha on Thursday.

As per Puri’s reply, of the eight complaints Air India received in 2019, seven of them were disposed of.

Air India Express and Alliance Air received one complaint each and they were disposed of in 2019 itself.

Puri stated that as per the DGCA rules, the airlines need not submit their details of their compliance with the 2013 law of sexual harassment.

“However, all the private domestic airlines have constituted Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) to investigate the complaints of alleged sexual harassment made by the women employees of the airline companies, in compliance with the (2013) Act,” he added.

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