kerala: Hc Bats For Women, Posh Life Ahead For Film World | Kochi News

KOCHI: The Kerala High Court ruled on Thursday that film production houses must form Internal Complaints Committees (ICCs) to deal with complaints of sexual harassment as specified in the Sexual Harassment of Women in the Venue Act 2013 work (prevention, prohibition and compensation).
However, the divisional bench of Chief Justice S Manikumar and Justice Shaji P Chaly ruled that political parties are exempt from forming such committees under the 2013 law, commonly known as the POSH law, as there is no no employer-employee relationship.

The court order follows two public interest litigation cases filed by the Women in Cinema Collective (WCC) for the establishment of ICCs for members of the Association of Malayalam Movie Artists (AMMA), Cine and TV Artists Association ( CINTAA), Kerala Film Chamber of Commerce, Kerala Film Producers Association, Film Employees Federation of Kerala (FEFKA), Malayalam Cinema Technicians Association (MACTA) and Kerala Film Distributors Association. The Kochi-based Center for Constitutional Rights, Research and Advocacy (CCRRA) had filed the PIL for the constitution of CCIs in political parties.
The judgment stated that the production unit of each motion picture industry is an establishment employing actors, performers and other workers and that such units must maintain an ICC if they hire more than 10 workers, as required by the POSH Act. .
The organizations had argued that they had no direct employer-employee relationship with the actors or performers and could not control individual production units.
The DM or ADM should lead the Local Complaints Committee in the district
The state government argued that it is compelled by law to compel such organizations to form CCIs in the absence of an employer-employee relationship, but felt that they should voluntarily formulate guidelines for keep women safe.
Referring to Section 6 of the POSH Act, the court pointed out that although organizations are not required to establish CCIs, a complaint can be filed with the local complaints committee. Therefore, the Local Complaints Committee in a district must be headed by a District Magistrate or Additional District Magistrate or the Collector or Deputy Collector in accordance with Section 5 of the Act.
“In short, as far as the film industry is concerned, the production unit is the workplace of an individual film and therefore each production unit should set up an internal complaints commission, which only can know harassment of women within the provisions of the Act,” the court concluded.
In addition to film production units, organizations representing actors and technicians should also form ICCs if they hire 10 or more workers to run their offices and have female workers, whether salaried or unpaid, the court ordered. If film industry organizations employ fewer than 10 workers, such complaints can be filed with the local complaints committee, as specified in sections 6 and 9 of the POSH Act, he said.
As AMMA volunteered to appoint a CIC, the court recorded the same in the judgment and allowed him to notify the CIC members according to law. While political parties are exempted from forming ICCs, any employee who experiences sexual harassment can file a complaint with the local complaints committee under sections 6 and 9 of the law, he said.
The court said that although every organization in the film industry is obliged to form ICCs, a joint committee is desirable because it would certainly give enough confidence to the actresses, artists and other employees and workers of the production units. This in turn would protect dignity and make the right to life and personal liberty of women in the film industry more meaningful and fruitful, he said.

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