The Sexual Harassment of women in the Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act 2013 (commonly known as the PoSH Act) has developed a grievance procedure in the form of a grievance redressal forum called the Internal Complaints Committee or ICC. In recent years it has come to be known only as the Internal Committee or IC.
Under the act, an employer is required to set up this grievance redressal mechanism called the Internal committee at each office, branch, or unit of an organization that has an employee headcount of 10 or more employees. The committee is institutionalized to hear complaints and grievances in relation to incidents of sexual harassment. Along with that, it is constituted to inquire into the grievance and make recommendations towards the complaints brought in front of it.
The IC forms the most important part of the legislation as it helps in the implementation and execution of the PoSH Act. Non-compliance or failure by an employer to constitute an IC is an offense punishable with a fine for an amount of Rupees Fifty Thousand.
According to the law, the IC comprises a senior level woman employee as the chairperson or presiding officer and a minimum of two employees committed to upholding women’s rights having expertise or knowledge regarding the same. The PoSH Act also mandates that there be another member called the external member from an organization or an association dedicated to women’s welfare. Not less than half of the IC Members should be women. The term of the IC members should not exceed 3 years.
The Act gives the IC the powers of a Civil Court and thus it acts as a quasi-judicial body empowered to summon or enforce the attendance of any person, order the production of documents, and perform any other matter(s) as may be prescribed.
About the Author and Serein
Faakirah Junaid Rafiquee is a lawyer and content designer. She is an experienced head of operations skilled in research, policy analysis, human rights, mental health, women rights, workshop moderation and document drafting. She is a strong operations professional with a Bachelor of Law focused in women rights and policy analysis. She has facilitated and designed workshops on issues like feminism, prevention of mental health, and childhood sexual abuse. She also has developed courses, modules and programmes on the same issues. Faakirah writes on women’s and mental health issues.
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