Women in Malayalam cinema: WCC welcomes SIC order to release Justice Hema Committee report

In 2019, the Committee submitted a report to the state government to address sexual harassment and gender inequality in the Malayalam film industry.

BySouth First Desk

Published Jul 08, 2024 | 10:48 AM Updated Jul 08, 2024 | 10:48 AM

WCC hails SIC order to release Justice Hema Committee report

The Women in Cinema Collective (WCC) has welcomed the Kerala State Information Commission’s (SIC) directive to reveal the findings of the Justice Hema Committee report.

In 2019, the Hema Committee submitted a report to the state government to address sexual violence and gender inequality in the Malayalam film industry.

According to the SIC order, only information barred under the Right to Information Act and details impacting the privacy of those involved should be withheld.

The SIC ordered that “while providing the attested copies of the report, the state public information officer should ensure that the materials do not lead to the identification of individuals referenced in the said report and compromise their privacy”.

The SIC also specified that certain sections, including paragraph 96 on page 49 and paragraphs 165 to 196 from pages 81 to 100, should remain undisclosed.

WCC welcomes SIC order

In a social media post, the WCC felt that the “State Information Commission’s order breaks the long and disappointing silence and gives hope to all of us who have been relentlessly striving to break through.”

The WCC expressed its intention to revisit many questions it had been asking over the years. Further, it felt that “implementing solutions without revealing the findings of the Justice Hema Committee report would be a mockery of the system”.

The WCC thanked the media for following up on the release of the Justice Hema Committee report. It noted, “Hope that survivors will be given justice and they can at least, in future, have workplaces to go to without any fear, discrimination, or exploitation.”

The Justice Hema Committee report is expected to reveal information that could significantly impact prominent figures in the industry. The committee was formed after a sexual assault on a renowned Malayalam actor in 2017.

The Hema Committee submitted its report to the state government by the end of 2019. But there was no development other than a two-page document listing the committee’s recommendations and the much-delayed news of forming a three-member panel to implement the recommendations.

Meanwhile, State Culture Minister Saji Cheriyan said the government would review the order and release the report accordingly.

“The report does not name individuals but raises various issues and circumstances. If anyone feels aggrieved by the committee report, they can approach the court and move legally,” Cheriyan added.

(Edited by Y Krishna Jyothi)

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