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Women can’t get away with malicious complaint

Ministry notifies rules for prevention of harassment at workplace

December 12, 2013 11:52 pm | Updated May 12, 2016 06:21 am IST - NEW DELHI:

Any malicious complaint of sexual harassment by a woman will attract the same punishment a man who has been found guilty of it at the workplace suffers.

The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redress) Rules, 2013, notified by the Women and Child Development Ministry, recommend action for sexual harassment/malicious complaint including a written apology; warning; reprimand or censure; withholding of promotion, pay rise or increments; termination from service; or undergoing counselling or doing community service. These will apply in cases where service rules do not exist.

Anyone who discloses the name or identity of the aggrieved woman or witnesses will be liable to pay a penalty of Rs 5,000.

On the inquiry procedure, the Rules say the complaints committee — internal complaints committee or local complaints committee — can, on a written request, grant the complainant relief during the pendency of inquiry by restraining the accused from reporting on the work performance of the aggrieved woman or writing her confidential report, and, in case of an educational institution, by restraining the respondent from supervising any academic activity of the woman.

The complaints committee will have the right to terminate the inquiry proceedings or give an ex-parte decision, if the complainant or the respondent fails, without sufficient cause, to present herself or himself for three consecutive hearings. However, the ex-parte or termination order will not be passed without giving the complainant/respondent a 15- day notice in writing.

A complaint of sexual harassment can be filed by a relative or a friend, a co-worker or an officer of the National Commission for Women or the State Women’s Commission or any other person who has knowledge of the incident where the complainant is unable to do it herself beca-use of physical incapacity. But this has to be done with her written consent.

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