Hyderabad: Women staffers are routinely verbally abused at the GHMC. Recent cases included the controversial transfer of the chief examiner of accounts; and the administrative officer who faced abuse for the appointment of a new additional commissioner for sanitation; and a senior officer appointed on contract basis in September as additional commissioner (sanitation) reportedly resigned before her tenure was complete.
In all three cases, political and bureaucratic harassment was cited. Incidenta-lly, the sexual harassment committee was unaware of any incident, claiming it didn’t receive any complaint.
Sources said all three incidents happened in a span of four weeks.
According to highly-placed sources, the transfer and verbal abuse not only contravened Vishaka guidelines framed by the Supreme Court but also the Telangana civil services (conduct) rules, 1964, which states that sexual harassment includes unwelcome sexually determined behaviour (whether directly or by implication) as physical contact and advances, a demand or request for sexual favours, sexually-coloured remarks, showing pornography, and any other unwelcome physical verbal or non-verbal conduct of sexual nature.
Sources said while the harassment at the bureaucratic level forced the chief examiner of accounts to request a transfer to her home department, the administrative officer was taken to task by a senior politician who used vulgar language, provoked by the appointment of new sanitation chief. The political leader is known for vulgar language in standing committee meetings. The controversial resignation of the senior IAS officer is still a mystery. All three incidents happened in a span of four weeks.
Sources said that in all three cases, GHMC commissioner D.S. Lokesh Kumar was a silent spectator. Surprisingly, the administrative officer was taken to task since Lokesh Kumar does not respond to the senior politician’s phone calls. In the case of the chief examiner of accounts, she was allegedly harassed for not signing a file originating from the sanitation wing. The bureaucrat even issued a challenge to either prove she lacked integrity by investigating her assets or repatriate her to her parent department.
Sources said women in the GHMC have suffered in silence even though over 60 per cent of the elected representatives are women, and 50 per cent hold key positions officially.
A senior official from the sexual harassment committee however said that there was no complaint. "Though I have an idea about the case of the chief examiner of accounts, she never brought it the notice of sexual harassment committee,” she said. “We can only act when there is a complaint from the victim. We have only received cases of domestic violence pertaining to lower rung officials.”...