Sexual harassment is a type of harassment involving the use of explicit or implicit sexual overtones, including the unwelcome or inappropriate promise of rewards in exchange for sexual favors. Sexual harassment includes a range of actions from verbal transgressions to sexual abuse or assault.
There are a number of rights enshrined in our Constitution. Some of them are Article 14, Article 15, Article 15 (1), Article 16 and Article 15(3). Not only these but initiatives on the global level has also be taken through CEDAW to curb the menace of sexual assault.
India introduced the POSH ACT which that came out as a step towards creating a safe evironment at workspace for women. The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 is a legislative act in India that seeks to protect women from sexual harassment at their place of work.The act under section 4 and section 6 creates a redressal mechanism in the form of internal committee (IC) and local committee (LC).
It mandates that the committee shall complete the enquiry within 90 days.
The complaint procedure under POSH ACT is as follows:-
- Aggrieved women must file complain within 3 months of the date of the incident.
- Once the complaint is received, the LC or IC must conduct an inquiry according to the rules under the act.
- The enquiry must be completed within a period of 90 days.
- In case the complainant is a domestic worker, the LC forwards the complaint to the police to register a case under the relevant provisions of IPC.
- If the IC finds the allegations to be true, it submits a report to the employer to: ✓ to take action against sexual assault as a misconduct. ✓ to deduct from the salary or wages of the respondent appropriate sum that needs to be paid to the aggrieved woman or to her legal heirs.
- The employer must act on the recommendations within 60 days.
Inquiry process conducted by the IC are as follows:-
- Send a copy of complaint to all the members of IC and to respondent within 7 days of filing the complaint.
- The respondent needs to respond to the complaints within next 10 days.
- If conciliation not attempted then the IC or LC initiates the enquiry and investigation.
- IC have powers equivalent to that of a civil court.
- Both parties should be given a file of the complaint so that they can represent themselves.
- If either party does not turn up, ex-part decision can be taken, after giving sufficient notice.
- If it is a criminal case, help the aggrieved to file an FIR at the police station.
– a safe workplace is every woman’s right.
Sexual harrasment electronic box (SHE BOX)
✓ Provides a single window access to every woman to facilitate the registration of complaint related to sexual harrasment.
✓ Is irrespective of her work status.
✓ Can be used by any woman to file complaint against sexual harrasment at workplace.
✓ Once submitted, complaint is directly sent to the concerned authorities.