Provisions of the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) (POSH) Act, 2013 are applicable to all National Sports Federations (NSFs), as applicable to any entity defined in the Act. The NSFs are bound to take action in terms of the extant legal provisions in the cases of sexual harassment reported to them.The Ministry has also issued instructions to all NSFs from time-to-time on the prevention of sexual harassment in sports.
Based on the information provided about complaints of sexual harassment during the last three years and the current year by the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) and all the presently recognized NSFs, four NSFs have reported complaints of sexual harassment.
The Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports had issued detailed instructions on 12.08.2010 to all NSFs for taking necessary action for compliance with the guidelines laid down by Supreme Court in the case of Vishakha and Others vs State of Rajasthan and Others. Pursuant to the enactment of the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) (POSH) Act, 2013, the provisions of the POSH Act 2013 are applicable to all NSFs. The NSFs are bound to take action in terms of the extant legal provisions in the cases of sexual harassment reported to them.
The Ministry has again written in January 2023 to the IOA and the NSFs to re-examine their structure and policies in terms of the said Act and make the necessary changes/modifications. The Ministry has also asked the IOA and the NSFs to sensitize their office bearers, coaches, administrative staff, and players about the prevention of sexual harassment of women in sports.
The Sports Authority of India (SAI), an autonomous body under the administrative control of the Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports, has issued specific instructions to ensure a safe and positive environment by making all stakeholders aware that there is an expectation, at all times, of appropriate behavior consistent with the core values of sportsmanship and appropriate moral conduct. In order to provide a safe environment in sports, the SAI also runs a 24*7 helpline for the players. The following measures have been advised to NSFs:
i. Women Coach to mandatorily be a part of the contingent with female athletes during Domestic/ International camps and competition exposures.
ii. Compliance Officer (Male & Female) to be appointed in all National Coaching Camps and Foreign Exposures. The roles and responsibilities of the Compliance Officer include communicating regularly with athletes and others to ensure that the guidelines are being followed as well as enforce the Standard Operating Procedure on prevention of sexual harassment in sports. The Compliance Officer, among other duties, should ensure that if any member reports a violation, the same should be reported earliest to the responsible authorities.
iii. Pre-Camp Sensitization modules to be designed and presented to all athletes, coaches and support staffs together before commencement of any National Coaching Camp and Foreign Exposure.
iv. Increase the strength of women Coaches/Support Staff in National Coaching Camps by respective NSFs.
This reply was given by Minister of Sports & Youth Affairs Shri Anurag Singh Thakur in Rajya Sabha today in a written reply.