The definition of sexual harassment is well-defined in the POSH Act, It states that “sexual harassment is any unwelcome sexual behavior, whether directly expressed or implied, and includes the case of physical contacts and advances, or sexual favour demanded or requested, or making remarks with sexual overtones, or showing pornography or other offensive material, or acting in an unwelcome sexual manner through physical, verbal, or non-verbal means.
What are the different provisions under PoSh Act?
Conciliation: Conciliation plays an important role in dispute resolution as it is always gives win- win solutions to the parties. It is an effective form of ADR ( Alternative Dispute Resolution) mechanism in which a third party, conciliator helps in resolving the dispute by giving multiple solutions to both of the parties. The matter related to the POSH can be resolved by the method of conciliation but it cannot be resolved on monetary terms.
Interim Relief: The victim can get one of the following interim reliefs in the POSH Act:
Relocation for any of them.
There is a provision of 3 months’ leave for the aggrieved women.
Punishment for false complaint:
The Act consists of provisions for the false complaint to prevent bogus allegations and to protect the interest of employees. The provisions of false complaints are very essential to protect the innocents. The person filing false complaint will be entitled to one of the following punishments:
A written apology letter by the complainant.
The promotion of such a person can be withheld by the company.
The pay rise or increment can be withheld by the company.
Termination of services, etc.
View of Legislation on false complaint related to sexual harrasment at work place
The High Court of Delhi imposed a hefty fine of Rs. 50000 on the petitioner
for filing a false case against the respondent in the case named Anita Suresh
vs Union of India & Others, P (C) 5114/2015. This clearly states that the
legislation is strict for false and misleading complaints.
The legal procedure to file a complaint of sexual harassment?
The victim can complain to the internal committee in the company and then to the complaint committee. Also, the aggrieved person can claim under various other provisions provided under Indian legislation such as sec 354 of IPC (Indian Penal Code)
It is pertinent to mention here that the time period for filing a complaint is three months but can be further extended to three months depending on circumstances. Moreover, if the victim herself is not able to complain she can complain through the appropriate person as provided under the legislation.
What are the different loopholes in the POSH Act?
Gender Biased: The provisions stated in the Act is specifically for female employee that depicts that only women are subjected to sexual harassment. This is the major drawback of the legislation that it is gender biased.
No protection for the informal sector: The legislation does not have specific provisions for the informal sector, this shows that the legislation is biased toward the informal sector as the complaint by this sector is not taken into consideration.
The legislation deals with all the basic provisions such as definition, punishment, and appropriate channels to complain. Also the Acts contains provisions for false complaints that is utmost necessary in this legislation. Every employer should add the provisions for sexual harrasment to ensure healthy environment at work place in their employee manual and also to take initiative for arranging awareness campaign at fixed intervals of time.
Associate at Aggarwals & Associates, S.A.S Nagar, Mohali