Learning Lesson Series from Kritarth Consulting. Lesson-2.
“Can IC Presiding Officer Commence, Conduct & Complete Inquiry into Sexual Harassment Complaint without associating other 3 Members of Internal Committee?”
I serve as Member (External), Internal Committees PAN India and came to know a tricky or ticklish Case where the IC Presiding Officer, single-hand, conducted & completed Inquiry into Sexual Harassment Complaint from Woman-Employee-Complainant without associating other Three Members of Internal Committee constituted at Workplace.
Thereafter, she emailed Copies of Inquiry Report with her Findings to the Employer/ Establishment Head with copies emailed to other 3 Members of Internal Committee who were neither informed about Inquiry Date, Time and Place nor were asked to attend Inquiry. The Moot Points are:- 1. Whether IC Presiding Officer acted lawfully, ethically or morally by not associating other 3 Members with Inquiry; 2. Whether Employer should accept, admit and act upon One-Member Inquiry Report; 3. Whether Inquiry Report is Infructuous, Invalid, Perverse hence null & void?
I request for Members Guidance, which will contribute to Knowlege-sharing and all the ICs Doing Right Things Right, First Time, Every Time
Harsh Kumar Sharan,
Spl Educator Posh Programs & Serving Member (External)
Dear Harsh Kumar Sharan,
I am once again happy to reply you as under:
In POSH Act, it is the committee and not any of its member individually is empowered to initiate the inquiry.
The Presiding officer is a Chairperson. She is a leader. The members of committee should act under the guidance of her. She can not act alone single hand. It is the general law that any committee has to act on consensus. The act of the Presiding Officer in the case you narrated is not at consensus hence it is wrong and not justifiable.
Further I wish to mention here that the External member is expected to ensure the proceedings are happening according to the principles of natural justice, advise and make efforts to co-ordinate with other IC members.
From India, Mumbai
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