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-Can Internal Committees Examine Non-Employee Outsider as 的ndependent Witness in ongoing IC Inquiry Proceedings???

During ongoing Inquiry into her Sexual Harassment Complaints, the Aggrieved Woman-Employee Complainant applied to her Internal Committee to arrange to examine Three Non-Employee Outsiders to Testify as her Witnesses to substantiate her allegations. She informed the Internal Committee that when she sought Management Permission to allow them, her Witnesses, Entry to Testify during Inquiry before Employee-Respondent, she was advised to apply to the IC. She was despondent at not getting reasonable support from Management.
Moot Point is, 鉄uo moto / sua sponte Can the Internal Committees Examine Non-Employee Outsider as 的ndependent Witness and Record their Testimonies under oath in ongoing IC Inquiry Proceedings?

I earnestly seek Experts Opinions in this or such a situation so that all present & future Internal Committee Members are benfited in discharging their Duties faithfully, properly and lawfully

Harsh Kumar Sharan,
Serving IC Member (External) & Spl Educator PoSH Programs
Kritarth Consulting Team
our blog: https://holistichr.blogspot.com/
29.6.2020

From India, Delhi
External witnesses can be examined by the Committee.
The role and testimony and relevance of external witness will have to be assessed.
It is quite possible the external witness was present in the office during the time,harassment has occurred.
Whether the witness will serve the "interests of justice" is the only factor to be considered.

From India, Pune
In my view, the Internal committee can allow the aggrieved woman employee to bring an external witness and adduce appropriate evidence as she may feel it would strengthen her case. Please see if your internal policy /rules/standing orders proviso on sexual harassment does permit so. In the absence of such proviso , you can permit her to bring an external witness and the merits of the case be assessed by he internal committee .
P.Senthilkumar

From India, Chennai
Good question.

The answer - as the previous comments have suggested is, yes.

1. Section 11(1) of the Act says that when the respondent is an employee, the inquiry should be conducted as per the service rules.

2. Section 11(3) of the Act says that the Internal Committee shall have the same powers as are vested in a civil court the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, in (a) summoning and enforcing the attendance of any person and examining him on oath.

2. The Rule 7(4) - to be read along with the Act - says it clearly that the principles of natural justice should be followed.

Considering that the term 'witness' is not included in the key definitions of the Act (as against 'aggrieved woman' in 2(a) and 'respondent' in 2(m) provided in section 2 of the Act, we can safely *infer* that witness could be anyone who witnessed SH or any part of it.

Reference:

POSH Act, rules, and other documents can be accessed here: [URL="https://wcd.nic.in/act/2314"]https://wcd.nic.in/act/2314

Best wishes,

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From India, Raurkela
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