New Delhi: A group that wants to make sex discrimination illegal in India is pushing a proposal that would force companies and organisations to offer their employees a “non-discriminatory” job offer that is free of discrimination based on sexual orientation.
The idea is to curb the practice of harassment in the workplace, which has been blamed for an estimated 3 million cases of sexual harassment and abuse in India each year.
The proposal was floated by a group of academics, lawyers and women’s rights activists who say that India needs a new law to protect people who feel unsafe or harassed in the company of others.
The “Hindus for Sexual and Gender Equality” group also wants to see a change in the law on sexual harassment that has been in place since 2007.
“We want to make it illegal to harass someone for being Muslim, Hindu, gay, straight, or anything else,” said Karun Goyal, a partner at a Delhi-based law firm.
“It’s an issue that affects everyone, including men.
It’s not just Hindu or Muslim women.”
The group wants to introduce a clause in the Indian Penal Code that would prohibit harassment and discrimination based only on sexual identity.
The group’s proposed bill would also require the company or organisation to post a notice in a conspicuous place at its workplace and a notice on its website informing employees that sexual orientation is protected under law.
It would also impose a minimum age requirement of 18 and a maximum age of 55 for women and 60 for men.
The proposed law would also provide for “advice and counselling” for employees about discrimination.
Goyal said the group is aiming to raise about $50,000 for the project.
The proposals is the latest in a string of proposals to curb harassment in Indian workplaces, which are seen as having the most potential for success.
A 2013 study by India’s National Commission for Women found that about 3,500 people had been harassed in India in the previous 12 months.
In March, a group led by social entrepreneur Gurbani Suresh filed a petition in the Delhi High Court, challenging the law that was enacted in 2007 that made sexual orientation a crime.
India’s government has been fighting the measure, which was opposed by human rights groups.
The government says it wants to improve the situation of people who have been harassed because of their sexual orientation in India, including those who are victims of hate crimes.
“There is no discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, and we would like to make this law in line with the law of the land,” Goyal told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
The new proposal comes as the government is working to bring the issue of sexual violence to the forefront in its government’s national campaign to combat sexual violence.
The National Commission on Women last month said that the government must urgently enact a law to criminalise sexual harassment.
It said the law must also ensure that discrimination is not imposed on people based on their sexual identity, or on gender identity.
A survey conducted by the NCCW in June found that 83 percent of the respondents said they were not comfortable with discrimination based upon sexual orientation and gender identity, while 41 percent said they felt harassed by someone because of sexual identity and gender.
The survey also found that nearly two-thirds of Indian women have experienced harassment.
“What we are trying to do is to push this through the political system,” Goynte said.
“So it’s very difficult because there is a huge difference in opinion in the country.”