-Who is Accountable for Effective & Perfect Inquiry in Sexual Harassment Complaints Cases-
100% Accountability before Laws is that of Internal Committee Members who are directly responsible for an Effective & Perfect Inquiry Report with Conclusive and Definite Findings OR for a Bad and Imperfect Inquiry Report with Perverse Findings in all Sexual Harassment Complaints Cases.

Employers are indirectly responsible before Laws for an Effective & Perfect Inquiry Report OR for a Bad and Imperfect Inquiry Report with Perverse Findings.
Badly Done Inquiry or Perverse Findings of Internal Committees attract Stringent Penalty and Punishment including:-
a) Rejection and Reversal of IC Inquiry Reports;
b) Orders to Remove Irresponsible IC Members and to Nominate New Members afresh;
c) Censure and Condemnation for i) Faulty-Functioning of the ICs, ii) Flagrant Violation of laid down Inquiry Procedures by IC Members; and iii) Perverse or inconclusive Findings by those ICs.
It is, thus Clear that an Effective & Perfect Inquiry Report is absolutely Essential, a Must and when it is Not So, the Woman-Complainants or the Respondents have gone to Courts (Lower, High or Supreme Court) to seek and secure Justice pointing out “Faults/Flaws” in Inquiry done by IC.
Sign of Effective & Perfect Inquiry done by Internal Committees:-
1. Inquiry done in accordance with the Principles of Natural Justice;
2. Inquiry done as per the Procedures laid down by the Laws. These Procedures are long-established official & proper way of doing Internal Inquiries and mean and include the established Sequence/Series of Action-Steps taken in a certain Order or Manner.
3. The Twin Principles of Natural Justice and the Inquiry Procedures were described & explained with sufficient precision by I C Members to the Woman-Complainants & the Employee-Respondents and their Affirmations, recorded;
4. Reasonable Opportunity were given to Complainant & Respondent, both to adduce Evidence and examine their own Witnesses, Cross-Examine each other and their Evidence & Witnesses;
5. Testimonies-under-Oath of Complainant & Respondent and their Witnesses were Recorded accurately & verbatim;
6. Relevant Evidence were admitted as Exhibits & referred to in Inquiry Report Writing; and inter alia
7. Inquiry Findings are Conclusive & Definite.
Symptom of a Bad Inquiry & Perverse Findings:-
1. Sexual Harassment Allegations/Complaints were Trivialized:
2. Twin Principles of Natural Justice were not followed;
3. Inquiry Procedure/Sequential Action-Steps not obeyed by IC Members as they were not Aware of them;
4. IC Members acted in Bias, Prejudice, under False Perceptions;
5. IC Members jumped to conclusions;
6. IC Members denied Right to Croos-Examination;
7. Testimonies Not Recorded verbatim but edited;
8. IC Members Recorded the Testimony of Aggrieved Woman-Complainant in absence of Employee-Respondent;
9. Testimony of Employee-Respondent was Recorded by IC in absence of the Woman-Complainant;
10. IC misused Expressions or Words namely “Interview”, “Talks” Meetings in place of “IC Proceedings” which are Quasi-Judicial and has legal locus standi as against words like Interviews; and inter alia
11. IC Findings were unrelated to and unconnected with Testimonies & Evidence on-Record created during IC Inquiry, instead Extraneous matters found frequent references in the IC Inquiry Report;
12. Woman-Complainant had lost Faith & Trust on IC Members due to their Strange Conduct including Observable Obedience Signals to the Employee-Respondent as he was Senior Superior;
13. Employee-Respondent had No Faith & Trust on IC Members from beginning as he noted incoherence amongst IC Members;
14. IC refused to Examine an “Independent Witness” named by Woman-Complainant as One who witness the act of Harassment;
15. Employees named as Witness by Respondent were not released from Duty to Testify in support of the Facts adduced in defense;
16. IC did not issue Copies of their Inquiry Findings to the Complainant and the Respondent, thereby denying both, the Opportunity to Know the Findings and to Submit Representation against IC Findings.
Defaults are many as Pointed out by the Courts or could be any in Future when laid down Inquiry Procedures are not followed faithfully and properly.
It is Obvious that Inquiry Procedures are Easy and Simple if we know them; Inquiry Procedures are Difficult if we don’t know them. Inquiry Procedures are Easy and Simple when Each I C Member becomes “Fluent with the Inquiry Procedures” laid down by Laws, and shall take Right Action-Steps Right, First Time, Every Time. When it is so, No Courts of Law shall ever reprimand ICs for Faulty-Functioning or reverse their Inquiry Report with Findings OR Order the ICs to Re-Do the Inquiry, properly.
Starting Inquiry into S H Complaint with No or Little Know-How or Half-Baked Knowledge on the part of Presiding Officer, the Employee-Members OR on the part of Member (External) without Proper Training of How to Do Inquiry always proved Futile for Internal Committee Members; Waste of Time for Woman- Complainant and Respondent and Pure Waste of Employers Money and Org Reputation. The Risks of Wrath of the Courts await all Bad Inquiries casually Conducted by Internal Committees. So Beware all Imternal Committees.
Ideas, Observations, Valuable Suggestions are Welcome.
Harsh K Sharan
XLRI Alumnus, Spl Educator PoSH Programs &
Serving External Members, ICs PAN India
Kritarth Team, 29.6.2020

From India, Delhi

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