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Synopsis:

I.                Introduction

II.               What is sexual harassment at workplace?

  • Quid pro quo (This for that)

  • Hostile work environment

III.           What includes workplace?

  • Unorganised sector

IV.            Who are considered employer and employee?

V.              Procedure for filing Complaint

  • Internal Complaints Committee

  • Local Complaints Committee

·                 Composition, tenure and other terms and conditions of Local Complaints Committee

  • Complaint of sexual harassment

  • Conciliation

  • Inquiry into complaint

  • Action during pendency of inquiry

  • Inquiry report. 

·                 Punishment for false or malicious complaint and false evidence

  • Determination of compensation.

·                 Prohibition of publication or making known contents of complaint and inquiry proceedings

·                 Penalty for publication or making known contents of complaint and inquiry proceedings

  • Penalty for non-compliance with provisions of Act

  • Cognizance of offence by courts

  • Appeal

VI.                        Rules regarding Sexual Harassment Act

  • Complaint of sexual harassment

  • Manner of inquiry into complaint

·                 Other relief to complainant during pendency of inquiry

  • Manner of taking action for sexual harassment

·                 Action for false or malicious complaint or false evidence

  • Appeal

  • Manner to organise workshops, etc

  • Preparation of annual report

VII.         Relevant sections under Indian Penal Code, 1860 (IPC)

  • Obscene acts and songs

·                 Word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman

·                 Sexual harassment and punishment for sexual harassment

·                 Assault or use of criminal force to woman with intent to disrobe

  • Voyeurism

  • Stalking

VIII.                  Other remedies

 

I.                Introduction:

·                 Many women who experience sexual harassment at home, in public or at workplace do not file complaints due to fear, ignorance or honor. But, ignoring such behavior may encourage such offensive behaviour.

II.               What is sexual harassment at workplace?

 

·                 According to section 2(n) of The Sexual Harassment Of Women At Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition And Redressal) Act, 2013 (hereinafter referred to as ‘the Act’) "Sexual harassment" includes any one or more of the following unwelcome acts or behaviour (whether directly or by implication) namely:

(i) physical contact and advances; or

(ii) a demand or request for sexual favours; or

(iii) making sexually coloured remarks; or

(iv) showing pornography; or

(v) any other unwelcome physical, verbal or non-verbal conduct of sexual nature;

 

·                 According to section 3 of the Act, following are the provisions for prevention of sexual harassment:

(1) No woman shall be subjected to sexual harassment at any workplace.

(2) The following circumstances, among other circumstances, if it occurs or is present in relation to or connected with any act or behaviour of sexual harassment may amount to sexual harassment:

(i) implied or explicit promise of preferential treatment in her employment; or

(ii) implied or explicit threat of detrimental treatment in her employment; or

(iii) implied or explicit threat about her present or future employment status; or

(iv) interference with her work or creating an intimidating or offensive or hostile work environment for her; or

(v) humiliating treatment likely to affect her health or safety.

 

  • Quid pro quo (This for that) : Sexual harassment caused by those in authority in an employment - relates to abusive authority resulting in direct or noticeable employment related actions such as asking for sexual favours for benefits in employment.

 

  • Hostile work environment : When the abuse  creates an unfriendly work environment making a women employee feel uncomfortable or threatening.

 

III.           What includes workplace?

 

·                 According to section 2(o) of the Act, "workplace" includes,

(i) any department, organisation, undertaking, establishment, enterprise, institution, office, branch or unit which is established, owned, controlled or wholly or substantially financed by funds provided directly or indirectly by the appropriate Government or the local authority or a Government company or a corporation or a co-operative society;

 

(ii) any private sector organisation or a private venture, undertaking, enterprise, institution, establishment, society, trust, non-governmental organisation, unit or service provider carrying on commercial, professional, vocational, educational, entertainmental, industrial, health services or financial activities including production, supply, sale, distribution or service;

 

(iii) hospitals or nursing homes;

 

(iv) any sports institute, stadium, sports complex or competition or games venue, whether residential or not used for training, sports or other activities relating thereto;

 

(v) any place visited by the employee arising out of or during the course of employment including transportation provided by the employer for undertaking such journey;

 

(vi) a dwelling place or a house;

 

(p) "unorganised sector" in relation to a workplace means an enterprise owned by individuals or self-employed workers and engaged in the production or sale of goods or providing service of any kind whatsoever, and where the enterprise employs workers, the number of such workers is less than ten.

 

IV.            Who are considered employer and employee?

  • According to section 2(f) of the Act, "employee" means, a person employed at a workplace for any work on regular, temporary, ad hoc or daily wage basis, either directly or through an agent, including a contractor, with or, without the knowledge of the principal employer, whether for remuneration or not, or working on a voluntary basis or otherwise, whether the terms of employment are express or implied and includes a co-worker, a contract worker, probationer, trainee, apprentice or called by any other such name;

  • According to section 2(g) of the Act, "employer" means,

(i) in relation to any department, organisation, undertaking, establishment, enterprise, institution, office, branch or unit of the appropriate Government or a local authority, the head of that department, organisation, undertaking, establishment, enterprise, institution, office, branch or unit or such other officer as the appropriate Government or the local authority, as the case may be, may by an order specify in this behalf;

(ii) in any workplace not covered under sub-clause (i), any person responsible for the management, supervision and control of the workplace.

V.              Procedure for filing Complaint

·                 An aggrieved woman/victim can file a complaint before the Internal Complaints Committee or Local Complaints Committee, as the case may be.

·                 A dedicated email address for women and children to file such complaints has been created by the Governtment - mwcd@gov.in

·                 Victims can use the provisions under the provisions under the Prevention of Sexual Harrasment Act to file a complaint before the Internal Complaints Committee or the Local Complaints Committee as the case may be and simultaneously file a First Information Report (FIR) with the police under the relevant provisions of the Indian Penal Code, 1860.

·                 When a victim lodges a police complaint, she will be asked to visit the Magistrate’s Court where the state (Government) registers the complaint whereby a notice is sent to the accused after which the trial commences. A sexual harassment trial is conducted similar to a rape case trial and is kept confidential. It is recommended that never delete a WhatsApp message, since online messages can be used as legal evidence. One can even send an email to oneself about such incidence as it can be used as evidence.

·                 According to section 4 of the Act, following are the provisions for the  Internal Complaints Committee:

(1) Every employer of a workplace shall, by an order in writing, constitute a Committee to be known as the "Internal Complaints Committee":

Provided that where the offices or administrative units of the workplace are located at different places or divisional or sub-divisional level, the Internal Committee shall be constituted at all administrative units or offices.

(2) The Internal Committee shall consist of the following members to be nominated by the employer, namely:

(a) a Presiding Officer who shall be a woman employed at a senior level at workplace from amongst the employees:

Provided that in case a senior level woman employee is not available, the Presiding Officer shall be nominated from other offices or administrative units of the workplace referred to in sub-section (1):

Provided further that in case the other offices or administrative units of the workplace do not have a senior level woman employee, the Presiding Officer shall be nominated from any other workplace of the same employer or other department or organisation;

(b) not less than two Members from amongst employees preferably committed to the cause of women or who have had experience in social work or have legal knowledge;

(c) one member from amongst non-governmental organisations or associations committed to the cause of women or a person familiar with the issues relating to sexual harassment:

Provided that at least one-half of the total Members so nominated shall be women.

(3) The Presiding Officer and every Member of the Internal Committee shall hold office for such period, not exceeding three years, from the date of their nomination as may be specified by the employer.

(4) The Member appointed from amongst the non-governmental organisations or associations shall be paid such fees or allowances for holding the proceedings of the Internal Committee, by the employer, as may be prescribed.

(5) Where the Presiding Officer or any Member of the Internal Committee,-

(a) contravenes the provisions of section 16; or

(b) has been convicted for an offence or an inquiry into an offence under any law for the time being in force is pending against him; or

(c) he has been found guilty in any disciplinary proceedings or a disciplinary proceeding is pending against him; or

(d) has so abused his position as to render his continuance in office prejudicial to the public interest, such Presiding Officer or Member, as the case maybe, shall be removed from the Committee and the vacancy so created or any casual vacancy shall be filled by fresh nomination in accordance with the provisions of this section.

·                 According to section 6 of the Act, following are the provisions for the Local Complaints Committee:

(1) Every District Officer shall constitute in the district concerned, a committee to be known as the "Local Complaints Committee" to receive complaints of sexual harassment from establishments where the Internal Complaints Committee has not been constituted due to having less than ten workers or if the complaint is against the employer himself.

(2) The District Officer shall designate one nodal officer in every block, taluka and tehsil in rural or tribal area and ward or municipality in the urban area, to receive complaints and forward the same to the concerned Local Complaints Committee within a period of seven days.

(3) The jurisdiction of the Local Complaints Committee shall extend to the areas of the district where it is constituted.

·                 According to Section 7 of the Act following are the provisions for  Composition, tenure and other terms and conditions of Local Complaints Committee.  –

(1) The Local Complaints Committee shall consist of the following members to be nominated by the District Officer, namely:

(a) a Chairperson to be nominated from amongst the eminent women in the field of social work and committed to the cause of women;

(b) one Member to be nominated from amongst the women working in block, taluka or tehsil or ward or municipality in the district;

(c) two Members, of whom at least one shall be a woman, to be nominated from amongst such non-governmental organisations or associations committed to the cause of women or a person familiar with the issues relating to sexual harassment, which may be prescribed:

Provided that at least one of the nominees should, preferably, have a background in law or legal knowledge:

Provided further that at least one of the nominees shall be a woman belonging to the Scheduled Castes or the Scheduled Tribes or the Other Backward Classes or minority community notified by the Central Government, from time to time;

(d) the concerned officer dealing with the social welfare or women and child development in the district, shall be a member ex officio.

(2) The Chairperson and every Member of the Local Committee shall hold office for such period, not exceeding three years, from the date of their appointment as may be specified by the District Officer.

(3) Where the Chairperson or any Member of the Local Complaints Committee

(a) contravenes the provisions of section 16; or

(b) has been convicted for an offence or an inquiry into an offence under any law for the time being in force is pending against him; or

(c) has been found guilty in any disciplinary proceedings or a disciplinary proceeding is pending against him; or

(d) has so abused his position as to render his continuance in office pre-judicial to the public interest, such Chairperson or Member, as the case may be, shall be removed from the Committee and the vacancy so created or any casual vacancy shall be filled by fresh nomination in accordance with the provisions of this section.

(4) The Chairperson and Members of the Local Committee other than the Members nominated under clauses (b) and (d) of sub-section (1) shall be entitled to such fees or allowances for holding the proceedings of the Local Committee as may be prescribed.

·                 According to Section 9 of the act, following are the provisions for the Complaint of sexual harassment. –

(1) Any aggrieved woman may make, in writing, a complaint of sexual harassment at workplace to the Internal Committee if so constituted, or the Local Committee, in case it is not so constituted, within a period of three months from the date of incident and in case of a series of incidents, within a period of three months from the date of last incident:

Provided that where such complaint cannot be made in writing, the Presiding Officer or any Member of the Internal Committee or the Chairperson or any Member of the Local Committee, as the case may be, shall render all reasonable assistance to the woman for making the complaint in writing:

Provided further that the Internal Committee or, as the case may be, the Local Committee may, for the reasons to be recorded in writing, extend the time limit not exceeding three months, if it is satisfied that the circumstances were such which prevented the woman from filing a complaint within the said period.

(2) Where the aggrieved woman is unable to make a complaint on account of her physical or mental incapacity or death or otherwise, her legal heir or such other person as may be prescribed may make a complaint under this section.

·                 According to Section 10 of the act, following are the provisions for Conciliation. –

(1) The Internal Committee or, as the case may be, the Local Committee, may, before initiating an inquiry under section 11 and at the request of the aggrieved woman take steps to settle the matter between her and the respondent through conciliation:

Provided that no monetary settlement shall be made as a basis of conciliation.

(2) Where a settlement has been arrived at under sub-section (1), the Internal Committee or the Local Committee, as the case may be, shall record the settlement so arrived and forward the same to the employer or the District Officer to take action as specified in the recommendation.

(3) The Internal Committee or the Local Committee, as the case may be, shall provide the copies of the settlement as recorded under sub-section (2) to the aggrieved woman and the respondent.

(4) Where a settlement is arrived at under sub-section (1), no further inquiry shall be conducted by the Internal Committee or the Local Committee, as the case may be.

·                 According to Section 11 of the act, following are the provisions for the Inquiry into complaint. –

(1) Subject to the provisions of section 10, the Internal Committee or the Local Committee, as the case may be, shall, where the respondent is an employee, proceed to make inquiry into the complaint in accordance with the provisions of the service rules applicable to the respondent and where no such rules exist, in such manner as may be prescribed or in case of a domestic worker, the Local Committee shall, if prima facie case exist, forward the complaint to the police, within a period of seven days for registering the case under section 509 of the Indian Penal Code (45 of 1860), and any other relevant provisions of the said Code where applicable:

Provided that where the aggrieved woman informs the Internal Committee or the Local Committee, as the case may be, that any term or condition of the settlement arrived at under sub-section (2) of section 10 has not been complied with by the respondent, the Internal Committee or the Local Committee shall proceed to make an inquiry into the complaint or, as the case may be, forward the complaint to the police:

Provided further that where both the parties are employees, the parties shall, during the course of inquiry, be given an opportunity of being heard and a copy of the findings shall be made available to both the parties enabling them to make representation against the findings before the Committee.

(2) Notwithstanding anything contained in section 509 of the Indian Penal Code (45 of 1860), the court may, when the respondent is convicted of the offence, order payment of such sums as it may consider appropriate, to the aggrieved woman by the respondent, having regard to the provisions of section 15.

(3) For the purpose of making an inquiry under sub-section (1), the Internal Committee or the Local Committee, as the case may be, shall have the same powers as are vested in a civil court under the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 (5 of 1908) when trying a suit in respect of the following matters, namely:

(a) summoning and enforcing the attendance of any person and examining him on oath;

(b) requiring the discovery and production of documents; and

(c) any other matter which may be prescribed.

(4) The inquiry under sub-section (1) shall be completed within a period of ninety days.

·                 According to Section 12 of the act, following are the provisions for the Action during pendency of inquiry. –

(1) During the pendency of an inquiry, on a written request made by the aggrieved woman, the Internal Committee or the Local Committee, as the case may be, may recommend to the employer to

(a) transfer the aggrieved woman or the respondent to any other workplace; or

(b) grant leave to the aggrieved woman up to a period of three months; or

(c) grant such other relief to the aggrieved woman as may be prescribed.

(2) The leave granted to the aggrieved woman under this section shall be in addition to the leave she would be otherwise entitled.

(3) On the recommendation of the Internal Committee or the Local Committee, as the case may be, under sub-section (1), the employer shall implement the recommendations made under sub-section (1) and send the report of such implementation to the Internal Committee or the Local Committee, as the case may be.

·                 According to Section 13 of the act, following are the provisions for the Inquiry report. –

(1) On the completion of an inquiry under this Act, the Internal Committee or the Local Committee, as the case may be, shall provide a report of its findings to the employer, or as the case may be, the District Officer within a period of ten days from the date of completion of the inquiry and such report be made available to the concerned parties.

(2) Where the Internal Committee or the Local Committee, as the case may be, arrives at the conclusion that the allegation against the respondent has not been proved, it shall recommend to the employer and the District Officer that no action is required to be taken in the matter.

(3) Where the Internal Committee or the Local Committee, as the case may be, arrives at the conclusion that the allegation against the respondent has been proved, it shall recommend to the employer or the District Officer, as the case may be

(i) to take action for sexual harassment as a misconduct in accordance with the provisions of the service rules applicable to the respondent or where no such service rules have been made, in such manner as may be prescribed;

(ii) to deduct, notwithstanding anything in the service rules applicable to the respondent, from the salary or wages of the respondent such sum as it may consider appropriate to be paid to the aggrieved woman or to her legal heirs, as it may determine, in accordance with the provisions of section 15:

Provided that in case the employer is unable to make such deduction from the salary of the respondent due to hi: being absent from duty or cessation of employment it may direct to the respondent to pay such sum to the aggrieved woman:

Provided further that in case the respondent fails to pay the sum referred to in clause (ii), the Internal Committee or, as the case may be, the Local Committee may forward the order for recovery of the sum as an arrear of land revenue to the concerned District Officer.

(4) The employer or the District Officer shall act upon the recommendation within sixty days of its receipt by him.

·                 According to Section 14 of the act, following are the provisions for the Punishment for false or malicious complaint and false evidence. –

(1) Where the Internal Committee or the Local Committee, as the case may be, arrives at a conclusion that the allegation against the respondent is malicious or the aggrieved woman or any other person making the complaint has made the complaint knowing it to be false or the aggrieved woman or any other person making the complaint has produced any forged or misleading document, it may recommend to the employer or the District Officer, as the case may be, to take action against the woman or the person who has made the complaint under sub-section (1) or sub-section (2) of section 9, as the case may be, in accordance with the provisions of the service rules applicable to her or him or where no such service rules exist, in such manner as may be prescribed:

Provided that a mere inability to substantiate a complaint or provide adequate proof need not attract action against the complainant under this section:

Provided further that the malicious intent on part of the complainant shall be established after an inquiry in accordance with the procedure prescribed, before any action is recommended.

(2) Where the Internal Committee or the Local Committee, as the case may be, arrives at a conclusion that during the inquiry any witness has given false evidence or produced any forged or misleading document, it may recommend to the employer of the witness or the District Officer, as the case may be, to take action in accordance with the provisions of the service rules applicable to the said witness or where no such service rules exist, in such manner as may be prescribed.

·                 According to Section 15 of the act, following are the provisions for the Determination of compensation. –

For the purpose of determining the sums to be paid to the aggrieved woman under clause (ii) of sub-section (3) of section 13, the Internal Committee or the Local Committee, as the case ma; e, shall have regard to

(a) the mental trauma, pain, suffering and emotional distress caused to the aggrieved woman;

(b) the loss in the career opportunity due to the incident of sexual harassment;

(c) medical expenses incurred by the victim for physical or psychiatric treatment;

(d) the income and financial status of the respondent;

(e) feasibility of such payment in lump sum or in instalments.

·                 According to Section 16 of the act, following are the provisions for the Prohibition of publication or making known contents of complaint and inquiry proceedings.  –

Notwithstanding anything contained in the Right to Information Act, 2005 (22 of 2005), the contents of the complaint made under section 9, the identity and addresses of the aggrieved woman, respondent and witnesses, any information relating to conciliation and inquiry proceedings, recommendations of the Internal Committee or the Local Committee, as the case may be, and the action taken by the employer or the District Officer under the provisions of this Act shall not be published, communicated or made known to the public, press and media in any manner:

Provided that information may be disseminated regarding the justice secured to any victim of sexual harassment under this Act without disclosing the name, address, identity or any other particulars calculated to lead to the identification of the aggrieved woman and witnesses.

·                 According to Section 17 of the act, following are the provisions for the Penalty for publication or making known contents of complaint and inquiry proceedings.  –

 Where any person entrusted with the duty to handle or deal with the complaint, inquiry or any recommendations or action to be taken under the provisions of this Act, contravenes the provisions of section 16, he shall be liable for penalty in accordance with the provisions of the service rules applicable to the said person or where no such service rules exist, in such manner as may be prescribed.

·                 According to Section 26 of the act, following are the provisions for the Penalty for non-compliance with provisions of Act. - (1) Where the employer fails to

(a) constitute an Internal Committee under sub-section (1) of section 4;

(b) take action under sections 13, 14 and 22; and

(c) contravenes or attempts to contravene or abets contravention of other provisions of this Act or any rules made thereunder, he shall be punishable with fine which may extend to fifty thousand rupees.

(2) If any employer, after having been previously convicted of an offence punishable under this Act subsequently commits and is convicted of the same offence, he shall be liable to

(i) twice the punishment, which might have been imposed on a first conviction, subject to the punishment being maximum provided for the same offence:

Provided that in case a higher punishment is prescribed under any other law for the time being in force, for the offence for which the accused is being prosecuted, the court shall take due cognizance of the same while awarding the punishment;

(ii) cancellation, of his licence or withdrawal, or non-renewal, or approval, or cancellation of the registration, as the case may be, by the Government or local authority required for carrying on his business or activity.

·                 According to Section 27 of the act, following are the provisions for the Cognizance of offence by courts. - (1) No court shall take cognizance of any offence punishable under this Act or any rules made thereunder, save on a complaint made by the aggrieved woman or any person authorised by the Internal Committee or Local Committee in this behalf.

(2) No court inferior to that of a Metropolitan Magistrate or a Judicial Magistrate of the first class shall try any offence punishable under this Act.

(3) Every offence under this Act shall be non-cognizable.

·                 According to Section 18 of the act, following are the provisions for the Appeal. –

(1) Any person aggrieved from the recommendations made under sub-section (2) of section 13 or under clause (i) or clause (ii) of sub-section (3) of section 13 or sub-section (1) or sub-section (2) of section 14 or section 17 or non-implementation of such recommendations may prefer an appeal to the court or tribunal in accordance with the provisions of the service rules applicable to the said person or where no such service rules exist then, without prejudice to provisions contained in any other law for the time being in force, the person aggrieved may prefer an appeal in such manner as may be prescribed.

(2) The appeal under sub-section (1) shall be preferred within a period of ninety days of the recommendations.

VI. Rules regarding Sexual Harassment

·                 Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Rules, 2013 (hereinafter referred to as the Rules) provides Rules regarding the Act. Herein Sec tion refers to the Section of the Act.

·                 According to Rule 6 of the act, following are the provisions for the Complaint of sexual harassment. - For the purpose of sub-section (2) of Section 9, -

(i) where the aggrieved woman is unable to make a complaint on account of her physical incapacity, a complaint may be filed by -

(a) her relative or friend; or

(b) her co-worker; or

(c) an officer of the National Commission for Women or State Women's Commission; or

(d) any person who has knowledge of the incident, with the written consent of the aggrieved woman;

(ii) where the aggrieved woman is unable to make a complaint on account of her mental incapacity, a complaint may be filed by -

(a) her relative of friend; or

(b) a special educator; or

(c) a qualified psychiatrist or psychologist; or

(d) the guardian or authority under whose care she is receiving treatment or care; or

(e) any person who has knowledge of the incident jointly with her relative or friend or a special educator or qualified psychiatrist or psychologist, or guardian or authority under whose care she is receiving treatment or care;

(iii) where the aggrieved woman for any other reason is unable to make a complaint, a complaint may be filed by any person who has knowledge of the incident, with her written consent;

(iv) where the aggrieved woman is dead, a complaint may be filed by any person who has knowledge of the incident, with the written consent of her legal heir.

·                 According to Rule 7 of the act, following are the provisions for the Manner of inquiry into complaint. –

(1) Subject to the provisions of section 11, at the time of filing the complaint, the complainant shall submit to the Complaints Committee, six copies of the complaint along with supporting documents and the names and addresses of the witnesses.

(2) On receipt of the complaint, the Complaints Committee shall send one of the copies received from the aggrieved woman under sub-rule (1) to the respondent within a period of seven working days.

(3) The respondent shall file his reply to the complaint along with his list of documents, and names and addresses of witnesses, within a period not exceeding ten working days from the date of receipt of the documents specified under sub-rule (1).

(4) The Complaints Committee shall make inquiry into the complaint in accordance with the principles of natural justice.

(5) The Complaints Committee shall have the right to terminate the inquiry proceedings or to give an ex-parte decision on the complaint, if the complainant or respondent fails, without sufficient cause, to present herself or himself for three consecutive hearings convened by the Chairperson or Presiding Officer, as the case may be:

Provided that such termination or ex-parte order may not be passed without giving a notice in writing, fifteen days in advance, to the party concerned.

(6) The parties shall not be allowed to bring in any legal practitioner to represent them in their case at any stage of the proceedings before the Complaints Committee.

(7) In conducting the inquiry, a minimum of three Members of the Complaints Committee including the Presiding Officer or the Chairperson, as the case may be, shall be present.

·                 According to Rule 8 of the act, following are the provisions for the Other relief to complainant during pendency of inquiry. - The Complaints Committee at the written request of the aggrieved woman may recommend to the employer to -

(a) restrain the respondent from reporting on the work performance of the aggrieved woman or writing her confidential report, and assign the same to another officer;

(b) restrain the respondent in case of an educational institution from supervising any academic activity of the aggrieved woman.

·                 According to Rule 9 of the act, following are the provisions for the Manner of taking action for sexual harassment. –

Except in cases where service rules exist, where the Complaints Committee arrives at the conclusion that the allegation against the respondent has been proved, it shall recommend to the employer or the District Officer, as the case may be, to take any action including a written apology, warning, reprimand or censure, withholding of promotion, withholding of pay rise or increments, terminating the respondent from service or undergoing a counselling session or carrying out community service.

·                 According to Rule 10 of the act, following are the provisions for the Action for false or malicious complaint or false evidence. –

Except in cases where service rules exist, where the Complaints Committee arrives at the conclusion that the allegation against the respondent is malicious or the aggrieved woman or any other person making the complaint has made the complaint knowing it to be false or the aggrieved woman or any other person making the complaint has produced any forged or misleading document, it may recommend to the employer or District Officer, as the case may be, to take action in accordance with the provisions of rule 9.

·                 According to Rule 11 of the act, following are the provisions for the Appeal. – Subject to the provisions of section 18, any person aggrieved from the recommendations made under sub-section (2) of section 13 or under clauses (i) or clause (ii) of sub-section (3) of section 13 or sub-section (1) or sub-section (2) of section 14 or section 17 or non-implementation of such recommendations may prefer an appeal to the appellate authority notified under clause (a) of section 2 of the Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Act, 1946 (20 of 1946).

·                 According to Rule 13 of the act, following are the provisions for the Manner to organise workshops, etc. - Subject to the provisions of section 19, every employer shall -

(a) formulate and widely disseminate an internal policy or charter or resolution or declaration for prohibition, prevention and redressal of sexual harassment at the workplace intended to promote gender sensitive safe spaces and remove underlying factors that contribute towards a hostile work environment against women;

(b) carry out orientation programmes and seminars for the Members of the Internal Committee ;

(c) carry out employees awareness programmes and create forum for dialogues which may involve Panchayati Raj Institutions, Gram Sabha, women's groups, mothers' committee, adolescent groups, urban local bodies and any other body as may be considered necessary;

(d) conduct capacity building and skill building programmes for the Members of the Internal Committee;

(e) declare the names and contact details of all the Members of the Internal Committee;

·                 According to Rule 14 of the act, following are the provisions for the Preparation of annual report. - The annual report which the Complaints Committee shall prepare under Section 21, shall have the following details :-

(a) number of complaints of sexual harassment received in the year;

(b) number of complaints disposed off during the year;

(c) number of cases pending for more than ninety days;

(d) number of workshops or awareness programme against sexual harassment carried out;

(e) nature of action taken by the employer or District Officer.

(f) use modules developed by the State Governments to conduct workshops and awareness programmes for sensitising the employees with the provisions of the Act.

VII. Relevant sections under Indian Penal Code, 1860 (IPC)

·                 According to Section 294 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 (IPC) (Hereinafter referred to as IPC), following are the provisions for Obscene acts and songs. - Whoever, to the annoyance of others,

(a) does any obscene act in any public place, or

(b) sings, recites or utters any obscene song, ballad or words, in or near any public place, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three months, or with fine, or with both.

·                 According to Section 509 of the IPC, following are the provisions for Word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman. –

Whoever, intending to insult the modesty of any woman, utters any word, makes any sound or gesture, or exhibits any object, intending that such word or sound shall be heard, or that such gesture or object shall be seen, by such woman, or intrudes upon the privacy of such woman, [shall be punished with simple imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years, and also with fine]

·                 According to Section 354A of the IPC, following are the provisions for Sexual harassment and punishment for sexual harassment. –

(1) A man committing any of the following acts-

(i) physical contact and advances involving unwelcome and explicit sexual overtures; or

(ii) a demand or request for sexual favours; or

(iii) showing pornography against the will of a woman; or

(iv) making sexually coloured remarks, shall be guilty of the offence of sexual harassment.

(2) Any man who commits the offence specified in clause (i) or clause (ii) or clause (iii) of sub-section (1) shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years, or with fine, or with both.

(3) Any man who commits the offence specified in clause (iv) of sub-section (1) shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to one year, or with fine, or with both.

·                 According to Section 354B of the IPC, following are the provisions for Assault or use of criminal force to woman with intent to disrobe. 

Any man who assaults or uses criminal force to any woman or abets such act with the intention of disrobing or compelling her to be naked shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which shall not be less than three years but which may extend to seven years, and shall also be liable to fine.

·                 According to Section 354C of the IPC, following are the provisions for Voyeurism. –

Any man who watches, or captures the image of a woman engaging in a private act in circumstances where she would usually have the expectation of not being observed either by the perpetrator or by any other person at the behest of the perpetrator or disseminates such image shall be punished on first conviction with imprisonment of either description for a term which shall not be less than one year, but which may extend to three years, and shall also be liable to fine, and be punished on a second or subsequent conviction, with imprisonment of either description for a term which shall not be less than three years, but which may extend to seven years, and shall also be liable to fine.

Explanation 1.  - For the purpose of this section, "private act" includes an act of watching carried out in a place which, in the circumstances, would reasonably be expected to provide privacy and where the victim's genitals, posterior or breasts are exposed or covered only in underwear; or the victim is using a lavatory; or the victim is doing a sexual act that is not of a kind ordinarily done in public.

Explanation 2.  - Where the victim consents to the capture of the images or any act, but not to their dissemination to third persons and where such image or act is disseminated, such dissemination shall be considered an offence under this section.

·                 According to Section 354D of the IPC, following are the provisions for Stalking. - (1) Any man who -

(i) follows a woman and contacts, or attempts to contact such woman to foster personal interaction repeatedly despite a clear indication of disinterest by such woman; or

(ii) monitors the use by a woman of the internet, email or any other form of electronic communication, commits the offence of stalking:

Provided that such conduct shall not amount to stalking if the man who pursued it proves that-

(i) it was pursued for the purpose of preventing or detecting crime and the man accused of stalking had been entrusted with the responsibility of prevention and detection of crime by the State; or

(ii) it was pursued under any law or to comply with any condition or requirement imposed by any person under any law; or

(iii) in the particular circumstances such conduct was reasonable and justified.

(2) Whoever commits the offence of stalking shall be punished on first conviction with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three years, and shall also be liable to fine; and be punished on a second or subsequent conviction, with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to five years, and shall also be liable to fine.]

VIII. Other remedies.

·                 An Aggrieved woman Can also file a online complaint on cybercrime.gov.in - women and child related complaint. She can also write a letter to Commissioner of Police, PMO or National Commission for women - complaintcell-ncw@nic.in +91-11-26944880 +91-11-26944883


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