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Sugandha Jain   17 August 2023

Prevention of sexual harassment act 2013

Prevention of Sexual Harassment in the Workplace was enacted in 2013. This is one of its kind as it is based on the commonly known Vishakha Guidelines (Vishaka and Others v. State of Rajasthan and Others). Normally Legislation makes the law but this law is based on precedent and directions given by the Supreme Court way back in 1997. As the name suggests POSH law mainly focuses on Women’s rights at the workplace. Earlier there were laws in IPC and various other laws that could not fulfill the object of women’s rights in the workplace. To give a safe environment at the workplace this law was enacted. However recently in the case of Aureliano Fernandes vs the State of Goa, it was observed by Supreme Court even after approximately 10 years of enactment and 20 years of Vishakha Judgement compliance with provisions of POSH law is not yet been done. An Internal Complaint Committee in every institute must be constituted to conduct an Inquiry to address the complaint if it comes. However, to date, ICC is not yet formed even if formed merely on paper or poorly constituted. The details of penal consequences for s*xual harassment, and ICC member details must be placed in a conspicuous place but not met. The ICC committee if not formed penalty of Rs.50,000/- may be paid and on repeated it may be increased further licence may be cancelled. An organization must submit an audit report as well.

In spite of all this it has been observed that POSH laws are not taken seriously which is in violation of the fundamental rights of women and in violation of Universal Conventions and treaties like the CEDAW. It severely hampers the work environment and many women drop out of jobs due to this.

To date, POSH laws are without teeth. Though appropriate governments are responsible for monitoring, Implementation, and making rules no steps have been taken to date.

Pursuant to the gravity of the situation a slew of directions has been passed by SC. Amongst other directions, the Supreme Court has directed Central Government, State Government to verify whether all the concerned Ministries, Departments, Government organizations, authorities, Public Sector Undertakings, institutions, bodies, etc. have constituted ICCs/LCs/ICs, as the case may be and that the composition of the said Committees is strictly in terms of the provisions of the PoSH Act. Also, submit an affidavit within 8 weeks.

Further, all the Statutory bodies of professionals at the Apex level and the State level (including those regulating doctors, lawyers, architects, chartered accountants, cost accountants, engineers, bankers, and other professionals), by universities, colleges, Training Centres, and educational institutions and by government and private hospitals/nursing homes are also directed to exercise the same.

This is a positive effort in the right direction to fulfill the promise that the PoSH Act holds out to working women all over the country,


 3 Replies

T. Kalaiselvan, Advocate (Advocate)     17 August 2023

We agree with your lengthy narration on the subject.

All those what you have stated are known to everyone here, actually what do you want to say by posting this message?

Sugandha Jain   17 August 2023

I am not sure people are aware of it. I posted it for awareness and there was a recent judgment pertaining to it as mentioned in my article so pointed out the same as well. Looking for healthy discussion and feedback

Real Soul.... (LEGAL)     17 August 2023

You can post that in article section. This is meant for queries . Thanks

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