“Who decides whether Workplace Sexual Harassment Complaint from Aggrieved-Woman is True or False?
Internal Committees decide if Sexual Harassment Complaints from the Aggrieved-Women are True or False. To do so ICs are empowered with Powers of Civil Courts and are law-bound to act according to Principles of Natural Justice and Procedures prescribed for such Internal Inquiries. ICs’ Findings & Recommendation which are Final & Binding must be conclusive & definite not arbitrary or Perverse. Not by Evidence Ac, ICs go by Preponderance of Possibilities of Facts & circumstances in each case.
Another challenge is oft-reality when Complainant has no Evidence to prove her allegations. In such situations, Laws specify that mere inability to substantiate Complaint or provide adequate proof need not attract Action against Complainant.
To arrive at conclusive & definite Finding, ICs must do the following:
1. Proceed with Inquiry after Complainant declines to opt for Conciliation;
2. Follow Twin Principles of Natural Justice, faithfully, fairly & properly;
3. Be Unbiased, Unprejudiced, free from any Influence, Pressures;
4. Never be arbitrary, arrogant & perverse in Findings;
5. Not be interested in outcome of Inquiry;
6. Provide reasonable opportunity to Complainant & Respondent to put up their case
7. Enforce attendance of Independent Witnesses if needed;
8. Enforce discovery & production of Documents if needed;
9. Hold ex parte Inquiry if Complainant or Respondent abstain from Inquiry in spite of Notices;
10. Not allow Leading Questions in Crossexamination; inter alia.
Ascertaining the Truth is easy only when IC Members are trained properly thru Mock Inquiries, Recording of Testimonies, Examining Evidence, Cross-Examination, Inquiry Report Writing. Full Familiarity with Twin Principles of Natural Justice is Crucial.
Internal Committees Must take Care to Create, for Record and Future Reference, Two (2) Documents namely i) Order-Sheet to record Sequence of Events; and ii) The Record of Testimonies, Cross-Examination, Evidence admitted as Exhibits, Clarifications sought etc with Signatures of Complainant and the Respondent by way of attestion to the Contents Fact recorded in their Joint presence.
Harsh Kumar Sharan, Spl Educator PoSH Programs,
Kritarth Consulting Pvt Ltd
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21 July 2020
From India, Delhi