All India Radio (AIR) Wednesday informed the Delhi High Court that cases of sexual harassment that some radio presenters of FM Gold channel complained of have been dealt with. In an affidavit filed by the Director General (DG) of AIR, it was stated that the complaints have been dealt with as per Vishakha Guidelines, and from time to time, the organisation has been taking steps to ensure that full security is provided to female staff. The division bench headed by Chief Justice N.V. Ramana posted the matter for Dec 11, saying it will look into the affidavit before deciding the matter. The bench was hearing the public interest litigation (PIL) seeking directions to “stop the sexual harassment and exploitation” of female radio presenters of the FM Gold Channel of AIR. Social worker Meera Mishra in her PIL said that she came to know of the sexual harassment of employees of the FM channel through media reports. Vanit Sood, director-general of AIR, filing the affidavit, said: “AIR is alive to its responsibility of ensuring that no act of sexual harassment at the work place takes place. From time to time, it has been taking steps to ensure full security is provided to its women staff and that they can work in a safe, congenial and healthy environment.”
It further stated that AIR has also taken steps for streamlining procedures for safety of women, including provision of transport facilities for pick-up and drop from their doorstep at night and early morning. The affidavit also said that the petitioner had alleged that Vishakha Guidelines have not been implemented in AIR. However, they have been already fully implemented. The PIL had sought that Prasar Bharti implement the Vishakha Guidelines laid down by the Supreme Court, pertaining to sexual harassment at the workplace and sought that the ministry set up a committee to investigate allegations of sexual misconduct. Sood also told the court that the organisation has received certain complaints of sexual harassment from radio jokeys against two people. “Complaints of sexual harassment have been inquired into by a duly constituted committee in terms of Vishakha Guidelines, and thereafter, appropriate administrative action has been take,” the reply filed by AIR said. All India Radio Broadcasting Professionals Association (AIRBPA) had alleged that adequate measures to ensure the safety of the women employees on night shifts were not being taken by the department. AIRBPA had earlier filed a complaint with the Delhi Commission for Women that they were facing sexual harassment at AIR FM Gold Radio Station. The AIRBPA alleged bias and unprofessional behaviour of programme executives at the radio station and specifically named the FM Gold director general for attacking the self-respect of women presenters, the plea said. AIRBPA had also alleged that the staff on duty was sometimes “intoxicated and misbehaved” with the women employees, but officials of AIR are not bothered. The complaint said that women were “forced to come to a certain point for the pick-up, and dropped far away from homes at odd hours”. Advocate Sugriv Dubey, filing the plea, had said that though these employees have been working with the channel for more than 15 years, they are sexually harassed and their services sometimes terminated without assigning any reason.