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=What if Internal Committees cross Time Limit of Completing Inquiry into Sexual Harassment Complaints?=

Internal Committees are Law-bound to complete the Inquiry into Sexual Harassment Complaints within Ninety consecutive Calendar Days. What if some Internal Committees cross & exceed mandated Time Limit and conclude Inquiry Proceedings beyond 90 Days Limit? What will be the locus standi /validity of delayed Inquiry or Inquiry Findings? And who will be held accountable/responsible for Dereliction of Duty on the part of such ICs? Lastly, what should the ICs do to act as per Law, Not breach the Laws?

Doable Guidance from PoSH Practioners & others shall serve the present & future IC Members becoming Effective.

Harsh Kumar Sharan,
Spl Educator PoSH Programs, Kritarth Consulting Team
#allaboutposh #PoshMasters.
Kritarth Blog https://holistichr.blogspot.com/

From India, Delhi
HI Harsh,

If the timeline is already crossed, it is difficult to change anything.

However, it is crucial that the reason for the delay and extension is provided in the final enquiry report. If there are any proofs and evidences to substantiate them, then that should also be annexed.

For eg. let us say it got delayed because a certain piece of evidence was brought to the light at the last minute. Then provide the evidence as to when exactly it was brought to ICs notice (perhaps in a meeting so there must be MoM for that meeting); or if one of the parties could not attend meetings due to illness or other emergencies then provide evidence for that.

Extension of timeline is something that not taken lightly in this law. Hence, the above should be helpful.

For more information, visit the insights on these topics at www.ungender.in

Regards,

Pallavi Pareek

Founder, www.ungender.in


The time limit is three months - but the following steps are necessary as per SC directives-

- Internal Complaints Committee (ICC)should be set up in all Department and organizations. As per Section 4(1) of the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013, the Internal Complaints Committee should be there at every workplace where 10 or more females are employed.

- As per Section 4(2), this should be head by a woman and at least half of its members should be women. As per Section 9(1) of the Act, the complainant should complain within three months of the incident.

- On the receipt of a complaint, the ICC will verify the facts of the allegation. The inquiry should begin within two weeks of the filing of a complaint which include cross-examination of the witnesses through a questionnaire.

- The internal complaints committee should intimate about the date and time of its proceedings to the appellant and the respondents in writing as well as by e-mail.

- The accused and the respondent shall not be present at the time of recording of the cross-examination of the witnesses of the complainant.

- Examination-in-chief of the complainants’ witnesses shall be submitted in writing to the ICC.

- The witnesses will then be called by the members of ICC for inquiry. The ICC shall make every endeavor to supply a copy of the cross-examination of the complainants’ witnesses to the appellant.

- After completion of the cross-examination of the complainants’ witnesses, the appellant shall submit the defense witnesses to the ICC in writing. The copies of the statements of the appellant’s witnesses should be provided to respondents.

- The respondent shall submit the Examination-in-chief of the defense witness in writing to the ICC. That such a submission shall be made within 1 week from the date of cross-examination of the complainants’ witnesses.

- After completion of the cross-examination of the witnesses of the appellant, parties shall be given a personal hearing by the ICC. After consideration of recording of the inquiry and the submissions made by the parties, the ICC shall submit a separate report along with its recommendations to the Governing Body.

- The ICC should complete the investigation procedure within a total period of three months.

- After consideration of recording of the inquiry and the submissions made by the parties, the ICC shall submit a separate report along with its recommendations to the Governing Body. The ICC should complete the investigation procedure within a total period of three months.

When there is an overall limit of 3 months under Sec.11(1) of the act, there is no broken up time limit for every step/procedures. Time delay bound to be there in between, it would be unethical to place an overall cap for completion of inquiry. And the employer or the District Officer has to act upon the recommendations of the ICC u/Sec.13(4).

However there is no definite stipulation whether or not to seek extension of time beyond 3 months as many cases didn't reach apex courts so far.

No court inferior to that of a Metropolitan Magistrate or a Judicial Magistrate of the

first class will try any offence punishable under this Act (Section 27(2)).

TIME LINE:

1.Submission of complaint - Within 3 months of incident

2.Notice to the Respondent - Within 7 days of receipt of the complaint

3.Completion of Inquiry by ICC- Within 90 days

4.Submission of Report by the LCC/ICC to the Employer/District Officer - Within 10 days of completion of Inquiry

5.Implementation of Recommendations - Within 60 days of receipt of Recommendation

6.Appeal - Within 90 days of recommendations.

For more on these pl.read the attachments.

From India, Bangalore

Attached Files
File Type: pdf FAQ_SHoWaWP(Pre.Prohi&Red) Act & Rules.pdf (167.7 KB, 24 views)

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