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Internal Complaints Committee


Internal Complaints Committee
Internal Complaints Committee

Content:-



Constitution


Section 4. Constitution of Internal Complaints Committee.— 

The Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) is a body established within workplaces to address complaints of sexual harassment. Every employer is required to set up an ICC, which is responsible for receiving and addressing complaints related to sexual harassment at the workplace. 


The ICC is comprised of various members, including a Presiding Officer who is a senior female employee, or if not available, a female employee from another office or administrative unit of the same workplace. 


Additionally, there should be at least two other members, preferably employees who are committed to women's causes or have experience in social work or legal matters. 


One member should also be nominated from a non-governmental organization or association working for women's rights or someone familiar with issues related to sexual harassment. 


The members of the ICC hold office for a specified period, usually not exceeding three years. They are responsible for ensuring that complaints are handled effectively and in accordance with the law. 


Any member found to be violating the rules or engaging in misconduct may be removed from the committee, and the vacancy filled by a new nomination. The ICC plays a crucial role in creating a safe and respectful workplace environment for all employees.


Powers of the ICC


The Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) wields significant authority in upholding the provisions of the Act and ensuring the effective implementation of its objectives as outlined in the ICC Policy.


Consequently, the primary responsibilities of the ICC include:


  1. Implementing the ICC Policy aimed at preventing sexual harassment.

  2. Resolving complaints filed by aggrieved individuals in accordance with the guidelines specified in the ICC Policy.

  3. Recommending appropriate actions to be taken by the Employer in response to complaints.


Under Section 11(3), the ICC is vested with powers akin to those of a Civil Court. Therefore:


  1. The ICC has the authority to initiate inquiries into complaints of sexual harassment at the workplace, adhering to the procedures outlined in the ICC Policy.

  2. It can summon witnesses and relevant parties to provide statements before the committee.

  3. The ICC retains the discretion to call for evidence to be examined if deemed necessary by its members during the course of an inquiry.

 
 

Responsibilities 


The Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) shoulders significant responsibilities in ensuring compliance with the POSH law within organizations. One of the key obligations is the public disclosure of the names and details of current ICC members, both prominently within the premises and on the official website.


The primary responsibilities of the ICC include:


1. Receiving complaints of sexual harassment in the workplace.


2. Initiating and conducting inquiries in accordance with the company's established procedures.


3. Submitting findings and recommendations resulting from these inquiries.


4. Collaborating with the Employer to implement appropriate actions based on the ICC's recommendations.


5. Upholding strict confidentiality throughout the complaint resolution process as outlined in the established guidelines of the Internal Complaints Committee Policy.


6. Submitting annual reports in the prescribed format as mandated.


The ICC must remain vigilant in addressing sexual harassment complaints promptly and effectively, striving to resolve them as swiftly as possible.


Aureliano Fernandes v. State of Goa


In the case of Aureliano Fernandes v. State of Goa, the Court issued several directions to ensure the effective implementation of the Protection of Women from Sexual Harassment (PoSH) Act in workplaces across the country. Here are the key directions outlined by the Court:

  • The Union of India, State Governments, and Union Territories are directed to conduct a time-bound exercise to verify whether all concerned Ministries, Departments, Government organizations, authorities, Public Sector Undertakings, institutions, bodies, etc. have constituted Internal Complaints Committees/Local Committees/Internal Committees in accordance with the provisions of the PoSH Act.


  • The relevant information regarding the constitution and composition of the Internal Complaints Committees/Local Committees/Internal Committees, contact details of designated persons, procedures for submitting online complaints, and relevant rules, regulations, and internal policies should be made readily available on the websites of the respective authorities/organizations/institutions.


  • Similar exercises should be undertaken by statutory bodies of professionals at the Apex level and the State level, universities, colleges, training centers, educational institutions, and government and private hospitals/nursing homes.


  • Authorities/managements/employers should take immediate and effective steps to familiarize members of the Internal Complaints Committees/Local Committees/Internal Committees with their duties and the inquiry process for handling complaints of sexual harassment.


  • Regular orientation programs, workshops, seminars, and awareness programs should be conducted by authorities/managements/employers to upskill members of the Internal Complaints Committees/Local Committees/Internal Committees and educate women employees and women's groups about the provisions of the PoSH Act, Rules, and relevant regulations.


  • The National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) and State Legal Services Authorities (SLSAs) should develop modules for conducting workshops and awareness programs to sensitize authorities/managements/employers, employees, and adolescent groups with the provisions of the PoSH Act.


  • The National Judicial Academy, State Judicial Academies, and the Supreme Court and High Courts should include orientation programs, seminars, workshops, and capacity-building programs for members of the Internal Complaints Committees/Local Committees/Internal Committees in their annual calendars.


  • Copies of the judgment should be transmitted to the Secretaries of all Ministries, Government of India, Chief Secretaries of all States and Union Territories, Directors of the National Judicial Academy, Member Secretary of NALSA, Chairperson of Bar Council of India, and Registrar Generals of all High Courts for strict compliance with the directions issued.


  • The Registry of the Supreme Court of India should transmit copies of the judgment to relevant authorities, including medical, architecture, chartered accountancy, company secretary, and engineering councils, for implementing the directions issued.


  • Member-Secretary of NALSA should transmit copies of the judgment to Member Secretaries of all State Legal Services Authorities, and Registrar Generals of State High Courts should transmit copies to Directors of State Judicial Academies and Principal District Judges/District Judges for dissemination.


  • The Bar Council of India and other apex bodies should transmit copies of the judgment to all State Bar Councils and State Level Councils for dissemination.

 
 

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