Infamous case of DSP Traffic Sukhwinder Pal Singh Sondhi is doing rounds in CAT (Central Administrative Tribunal ) Chandigarh. The Chandigarh Administration in its reply to Tribunal stated that the sexual harassment complaint forwarded by woman officer was genuine and free from any vindictiveness towards the DSP.
DSP has moved to CAT Chandigarh for quashing of the sexual harassment complaint last year in October where court directed not to take any action until the complaint is pending.
The Hon’ble Supreme Court has laid down guidelines and norms in this matter in the case of Vishakha & Ors. Vs. State of Rajasthan & Ors. (Jt. 1997(7) SC 384).
Sexual Harassment includes following acts
- Physical contact and advance;
- Demand or request for sexual favours;
- Sexually coloured remarks;
- Showing any pornography; or
- Any other unwelcome physical, verbal or non-verbal conduct of sexual nature.
Procedure for Sexual Harassment cases in government departments:
1 The Complaint is to be forwarded to Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) of concerned department. The committee should constitute not less than half women members and if desired can take assistance of third party or NGO. The report of ICC are deemed to be inquiry report.
2 The aggrieved woman has to make complaint within 3 months or if continuing within 3 months of last incident. The ICC can take suo-moto cognizance also.
3 The inquiry conducted is to be at two stages; Investigation and Inquiring Authority and in strict consonance of Rule 14 of CCS (CCA) Rules, 1965.
4 If on the basis of preliminary inquiry, charges are prima facie proved then Disciplinary Authority may frame charges and conduct a formal inquiry as per the rules and procedures of department. The officer should be given chance to reply to chargesheet keeping in principles of natural justice intact.
5 The officer may be suspended while issuing chargesheet ensuring
The complaints can be filed online at SHe-Box portal launched by the Ministry of Women and Child Development on July 24, 2018.
As per law government departments and private firms with more than 10 employees to constitute internal complaints committee (ICC) to look into the complaints of sexual harassment against women at workplace.
Apart from complaint to committee member, aggrieved woman is free to file criminal complaint under Indian Penal Code, IPC.
Following recommendation can be given by ICC:
The following actions may be recommended:
- A written apology
- Reprimand or censure
- Withholding of promotion
- Withholding of pay rise or increments
- Undergoing a counseling session
- Carrying out of community service
- Terminating the respondent from service
- Any other punishment according to the service rules applicable to the respondent
Then the concerned department/ institute has to file compliance report in lieu of ICC recommendations.
If the complaint is found false, action can be taken against the complainant i.e. aggrieved woman.
For more info, please dial 99888-17966.