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Current Affairs

POSH Act

Date: 21 March 2022 Tags: Miscellaneous

Issue

The Kerala High Court has asked Kerala film industry to take steps to implement prevention of sexual harassment or POSH Act.

 

Background

The law was passed by the Parliament in 2013. It aims to prevent sexual harassment by influential men.

 

Details

The act defines sexual harassment and lays down the procedures for a complaint and inquiry, and the action to be taken by broadening the Vishakha guidelines.

 

Vishakha guidelines

  • The Vishakha guidelines were notified by the Supreme Court in 1997 based on a case filed by Women’s rights group called Vishakha.

  • The case was related to alleged sexual exploitation of Bhanwari Devi by few men of upper caste for preventing a child marriage in Rajasthan.

 

The guidelines

  • The judgment imposed legally binding three key obligations on institutions like prohibition, prevention, redress.

  • Every employment institution must establish a Complaints Committee, which would look into matters of sexual harassment of women at the workplace.

 

Post 2013

  • It mandated that every employer must set up an Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) at each office or branch with 10 or more employees.

  • It defined various aspects of sexual harassment and laid down procedures, including the aggrieved victim, who has been subjected to any act of sexual harassment.

  • The rights of all women working or visiting any workplace, in any capacity, were protected under the provisions of this Act.

 

Sexual harassment

Following acts can be considered as sexual harassment under the law:

  • Physical contact and advances

  • Demand or request for sexual favours

  • Sexually flavoured remarks

  • Showing pornography

  • Unwelcome physical, verbal or non-verbal conduct of sexual nature

 

Complaint procedure

  • It is not necessary for a woman to file complaint for Internal Complaints Committee to act. She can be assisted to write complaint.

  • The complaint has to be made within three months of the incident. The time limit can be extended in suitable cases.

  • The Internal Complaints Committee may make efforts to settle the matter between complainant and accused without monetary settlement.

  • The inquiry has to be completed within 90 days. The committee has power of that of a civil court.

  • After completion, the committee has to report findings to the employer within 10 days. The identity of the woman must not be made public.