#MeToo: Four-member retired judges' panel to conduct public hearing (File Photo)
As social media is flooded with stories of sexual harassment and assault stories under the banner of #MeToo movement, Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi Friday announced her decision to form a four-member committee of retired judges to conduct public hearings across India.
In an interview with PTI, Gandhi said the proposing committee with senior judicial and legal persons will look into all issues which have come to light owing to the recent #MeToo campaign.
"I am proposing to set up a committee with senior judicial and legal persons as members to look into all issues emanating from the #MeToo campaign," Maneka was quoted by PTI as saying.
The committee will look into the legal and institutional framework which is in place for handling complaints of sexual harassment, including some of the complaints if required, and advise the ministry on how to strengthen these, she said.
Expressing her concern for each and every #MeToo victim, Gandhi said, "I believe in all of them. I believe in the pain and trauma behind every single complainant".
The #MeToo movement has gained momentum over the last fortnight with scores of women from across different industries narrating their ordeal on sexual harassment at the workplace and support pouring in from various quarters.
Pitching the idea of #MeToo campaign, B-town diva Malaika Arora said, "It has just started here. I think it's very good, better late than never. If you take this step now in future we'll be able to control it. If women have been through any kind of harassment whether it's physical, mental, emotional, any which way, I support them".
It was Indian model-turned-actress Tanushree Dutta, who first broke her silence on her suffering at the hand of veteran Bollywood actor Nana Patekar on the set of Filmistan Studio 3 in Mumbai. Patekar had allegedly harassed Dutta while shooting for a song for their 2008 film Horn Ok Pleassss.
Apart from Patekar, several other Bollywood biggies like Sajid Khan, Piyush Mishra, Rajat Kapoor and Alok Nath have been accused of #MeToo allegations with Subhash Ghai being the latest on the list.