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Internal Complaint Committee

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Internal Complaint Committee

AIM:

Prevention, prohibition and redressal of sexual harassment of women employees and students in higher educational institutions.

Constitution of Internal Complaint Committee

AIM:

Prevention, prohibition and redressal of sexual harassment of women employees and students in higher educational institutions.

(a) The Registrar shall, by an order in writing, constitute an “Internal Complaints Committee,” consisting of the following members:
  • A Presiding Officer, who shall be of the rank of a professor or associate professor;
  • Not less than two members from amongst the faculty members preferably committed to the cause of women or who have had experience in social work or have legal Knowledge;
  • 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;
  • At least one-half of the total members so nominated shall be women.
(b) The Presiding Officer and every Member of the Internal Committee shall hold office for a period not exceeding three years, from the date of their nomination.
(c) Where the Presiding Officer or any member of the Internal Committee
  • Contravenes the provisions of Section 16 of the Act
  • Has been convicted for an offence or an inquiry into an offence under any law for the time being in force is pending against her/him
  • She/he has been found guilty in any disciplinary proceedings or a disciplinary proceeding is pending against her/him; or
  • Has so abused her/his position as to render her/his continuance in office prejudicial to the interest of the University community, such Presiding Officer 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.
The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013:
The Act recognises the right of every woman to a safe and secure workplace environment irrespective of her age or employment/status.
Who all are protected:
The right of all students and women working or visiting any workplace in the capacity of regular, temporary, ad hoc, or daily - wages basis is protected under this Act.
What is a Workplace?
A workplace under this Act includes among other places of work including any sports institute, stadium, sports complex, or competition or games venue, whether residential or not used for training, sports, or other activities relating thereto.
What constitutes Sexual Harassment?

Sexual Harassment” includes anyone or more of the following unwelcome acts or behaviour (whether directly or by implication), namely:

  • Physical contact or advances;
  • A demand or request for sexual favours;
  • Showing pornography;
  • Any other unwelcome physical, verbal, or non-verbal conduct of a sexual nature.
Some examples of behaviour that constitutes sexual harassment are given below:
  • Making sexually suggestive remarks or innuendos;
  • Serious or repeated offensive remarks, such as teasing related to a person’s body or appearance;
  • Offensive comments or jokes;
  • Inappropriate questions, suggestions, or remarks about a person’s sex life;
  • Displaying sexist or other offensive pictures, posters, mms, sms, WhatsApp, or e-mails;
  • Intimidation, threats, blackmail around sexual favours;
  • Threats, intimidation, or retaliation against an employee who speaks up about unwelcome behaviour with sexual overtones;
  • Unwelcome social invitations, with sexual overtones commonly understood as flirting;
  • Unwelcome sexual advances which may or may not be accompanied by promises or threats, explicit or implicit;
  • Physical contact such as touching or pinching;
  • Caressing, kissing, or fondling someone against her will that could be considered assault;
  • Invasion of personal space like getting too close for no reason, brushing against or cornering someone;
  • Persistently asking someone out, despite being turned down;
  • Stalking an individual;
  • Abuse of authority or power to threaten a person’s job or undermine her performance against sexual favours;
  • Falsely accusing and undermining a person behind closed doors for sexual favours;
  • Controlling a person’s reputation by rumour-mongering about her private life.
S.No.

UNWELCOME

WELCOME

1

Feels bad

Feels good

2

One-sided

Reciprocal

3

Feels powerless

In control

4

Power-based

Equality

5

Unwanted

Wanted

6

Illegal

Legal

7

Invading

Open

8

Demeaning

Appreciative

9

Causes anger/sadness

Happy

10

Causes negative self-esteem

Positive self-esteem

Complaint of Sexual Harassment

The procedure for making complaints against sexual harassment shall be as follows:

  • Any aggrieved woman may make, in writing, a complaint of sexual harassment at workplace to the Internal Committee 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.
  • In cases where such complaint cannot be made in writing, the Presiding Officer or any Member of the Internal Committee, as the case may be, shall render all reasonable assistance to the woman for making the complaint in writing.
  • The Internal Committee may, for the reasons to be recorded in writing, may 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.
  • Oral Complaints are to be lodged in person or by a person accompanying the victim before the Chairperson or to any member of the Committee.
  • All oral complaints when made, shall be reduced in writing by the Presiding Officer or a person designated and signed by the victim and person accompanying the victim.
  • In exceptional cases, third party complaint may be entertained subject to confirmation by the victim on call.
  • Anonymous complaints, would, in general, not be taken up by the Committee for action. However, the content of such complaints may be used for sensitization purposes, if deemed relevant.
  • If 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.
  • The mechanism for registering complaints should be safe and sensitive.
  • The Committee shall maintain complete confidentiality of the entire proceedings. Only such a Committee will provide the needed courage, comfort and trust for someone to make a complaint.
  • Any faculty, staff, or student who comes to know about an incident of harassment shall advise the affected person to approach a member of the Committee or report to a member themselves.
  • The Internal Committee may, before initiating an inquiry, at the behest 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.
  • The Internal Committee shall have the power to –
  • summon and enforce the attendance of any person and examining him under oath;
  • require the discovery and production of documents; and any other matter which may be deemed necessary.
  • The said inquiry shall be completed within a period of ninety days.
  • The Internal Committee shall provide copies of the settlement to the aggrieved woman and the respondent.
Inquiry Report
  • On the completion of an inquiry, the Internal Committee shall provide a report of its findings to the Registrar/Vice Chancellor, within a period of ten days from the date of completion of the inquiry and such report shall be made available to the concerned parties.
  • Where the Internal Committee arrives at the conclusion that the allegation against the respondent has not been proved, it shall recommend to the Registrar/Vice Chancellor that no action is required to be taken in the matter.
  • Where the Internal Committee arrives at the conclusion that the allegation against the respondent has been proved, it shall recommend –
  • suitable action as per the provisions of the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition, and Redressal) Act 2013.
  • suitable action to be taken for sexual harassment as a misconduct in accordance with the provisions of the rules of the University;
  • suspension from the University or removal of the name of the respondent from the rolls of the University, depending on the gravity of the crime;
  • debarring the respondent from appearing in the examinations; or
  • any other punishment that shall be deemed suitable.
Punishment for False Complaint and False Evidence
  • If, on conducting inquiry, the Internal Committee 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, action may be taken against the woman or the person who has made the complaint.
  • Mere inability to substantiate a complaint or provide adequate proof thereof need not attract attention against the complainant.