Internal Complaint Committee - Sexual harassment of women at workplace

As per Section 134 (Boards’ Report) read with Rule 8 (Matter to be include in Board Report) Sub rule 5 clause (x), The report of board shall contain “a statement that the company has complied with provisions relating to the constitution of Internal Complaints Committee under Sexual harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013."

Legislature Background:

As per Companies Act, 2013 Section 134 every company required to prepare report of Board of Directors for Financial year. Board report should contain disclosures as per Section 134 read with rule 8.

After notification of Companies Amendment Act, 2017, some amendments made under Section 134. One of those amendment notified on 31st July, 2018 i.e. The report of board shall contain “a statement that the company has complied with provisions relating to the constitution of Internal Complaints Committee under Sexual harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013”

Preamble:

The Parliament of India passed the “Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition, and Redressal) Act,” in the year 2013. The Act provides protection against sexual harassment of women at workplace and for the prevention and redressal of complaints of sexual harassment and for the matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.

Applicability of provisions:

The constitution of Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) for receiving complaints of sexual harassment of women is mandatory in all Ministries/Departments of Union as well as State Governments and in the private sector too.

The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 mandates ALL the workplace to constitute Committee:

A workplace is defined as “any place visited by the employee arising out of or during the course of employment, including transportation provided by the employer for undertaking such a journey.” As per this definition, a workplace covers both the organized and un-organized sectors. 

It also includes all workplaces whether owned by Indian or foreign company having a place of work in India. As per the Act, workplace includes: - 

  • Government organizations, including Government company, corporations and cooperative societies; 
  • Private sector organizations, venture, society, trust, NGO or service providers etc. providing services which are commercial, vocational, educational, sports, professional, entertainment, industrial, health related or financial activities, including production, supply, sale, distribution or service; 
  • Hospitals/Nursing Homes; - Sports Institutes/Facilities; - Places visited by the employee (including while on travel) including transportation provided by employer;
  • A dwelling place or house. 

The Act defines the Unorganized Sector as: 

  • Any enterprise owned by an individual or self-employed workers engaged in the production or sale of goods or providing services of any kind; 
  • Any enterprise which employs less than 10 workers.

In other Words: from the point of view of Section 134

Every Company either small or non-small if having 10 or more than 10 employees, required constitution of the Internal Control Committee for prevention of Sexual Harassment of Women at workplace, 

Constitution of Committee:

Every employer of a workplace shall, be an order in writing, constitute a committee to be known as the “Internal Complaints Committee”. The Internal Control Committee shall consist of the following members to be nominated by the employer, namely:-

a) a Presiding Officer who shall be a woman employed at a senior level at workplace from amongst the employees:

Provided that in case a senior level woman employee is not available, the Presiding Officer shall be nominated from other offices or administrative units of the workplace. 

Provided further that in case the other offices or administrative units of the workplace do not have a senior level woman employee, the Presiding Officer shall be nominated from any other workplace of the same employer or other department or organization;

b) not less than two Members from amongst employees preferably committed to the cause of women or who have had experience in social work or have legal knowledge;

c) one member from amongst non-governmental organizations or associations committed to the cause of women or a person familiar with the issues relating to sexual harassment:

Provided that at least one-half of the total Members so nominated shall be women.

Directors’ Report

W.e.f. 31st July, 2018 it is mandatory for each and every company except (Small Company and OPC) to mention in its board Report that:

INTERNAL COMPLAINT COMMITTEE (Sexual harassment of women at workplace): 

The Company has constituted the committee under the sexual harassment of women at workplace (prevention, prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 and complied with the provisions of the same.

The Company is committed to provide a safe and conducive work environment to its employees during the financial year. Your Directors further state that during the financial year, there were no cases filed pursuant to the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013.

 

CS Divesh Goyal 
on 08 October 2018
Published in Others
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