The provisions of the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 and Rules (2013) (hereinafter collectively referred to as “POSH laws”) have been introduced by the Indian legislation with the objective of prevention of all discrimination against Women.
The setting up of an Internal Complaints Committee (hereinafter referred to as the “ICC”) by the employer/ establishment as prescribed by the law comes to aid of the women who may become a victim to evil intention of the opposite gender in the form of sexual harassment.
Inquiry by ICC
As per the POSH laws, while inquiring into a complaint of workplace sexual harassment some of the powers which the ICC is bestowed with as stated as below:
- same powers as those vested in a civil court under the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908;
- summoning and enforcing the attendance of any person and examining him on oath;
- requiring the discovery and production of documents;
- authority to exercise the principles of natural justice
Reliefs by ICC
Considering the sensitivity of the issue and the impact of the incident, the ICC may grant any of the below mentioned reliefs to the aggrieved women:
- Transfer the aggrieved woman or the respondent to any other workplace;
- Grant leave to the aggrieved woman up to a period of three months. The leave granted to the aggrieved woman shall be in addition to the leave she would be otherwise entitled;
Penalties by ICC
While arriving at the conclusion that an accused is guilty of committing an act of sexual harassment may penalize such a person in any manner including but not limited to the following:
- Tendering of written apology by the accused;
- Deduction of the salary or wages of the accused.
- Suspension/ Termination of the accused.
Punishment in case of false complaints
Where it is observed by ICC that the complainant has made a false complaint, the ICC may punish such person by recommending the Employer/ District to action against such person in accordance to the provisions of service rules or where no such service rules exist, in such manner as may be prescribed.