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Anti - Sexual Harassment Committee

Preface /Overview

The Government of India has notified the Sexual Harassment of Women at the Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition Redressal) Act, 2013 (“Act”) and the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Rules, 2013 (“Rules”). Both the Act and the Rules have come into force with effect from December 9, 2013. The Act and the Rules were both drawn up and passed in furtherance to the guidelines as laid down by the Supreme Court of India in the matter of Vishaka v. State of Rajasthan, to ensure that women, in particular, are protected against Sexual Harassment at all work places, be it in public or private and to create work environments that recognizes right to gender equality, life and liberty and equality in working conditions everywhere.

B.M.S. College of Law is an equal opportunity employment institution without regard to race, caste, religion, colour, marital status, sex, age, nationality, disability of its staff. The institution also believes that all employees of the Institution have the right to be treated with dignity. The institution believes that Sexual Harassment in any form at workplace is a grave offence. The institution holds the responsibility to identify and prevent Sexual Harassment and to develop a culture of “zero tolerance” for any form of Sexual Harassment at the Workplace. The institution will respond promptly to reports of Sexual Harassment and will take prompt and appropriate steps to take cognizance of acts/behavior that violates this Policy and if necessary, facilitate legal action. .

Anti-Sexual Harassment Committee (Internal Complaints Committee) named “Samskruthi” is reconstituted to provide for the effective enforcement of the basic human rights of gender equality and guarantee against sexual harassment and abuse, and to provide conducive atmosphere in the campus, to all the staff members, employees and students of BMSCL. .

This Anti-Sexual Harassment Policy gives effect to the legal provisions contained in the Act and the Rules relating to protection against Sexual Harassment at Workplace and for establishing the necessary mechanisms for redressal of complaints of Sexual Harassment and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.


Declaration of Adoption

On this day, the 1st August, 2017, I declare that this policy on Anti-Sexual Harassment Committee is formally adopted for use. The Policy will remain in force from this day until it is amended or replaced by another Policy following the relevant procedures said down herein for such purpose.

In testimony of this declaration I place my signature and the official seal of the College.


Procedures for Amending this Policy

This Policy can be amended for the purpose of changing the composition either by reducing or increasing the membership, grounds for terminating the members etc.. By incorporating a statement as to why the amendment is required to be made to the Policy and the same has to be approved by majority of the members of the Committee. The Principal will then take necessary steps for such a replacement.


Extent of Autonomy

The committee will have complete autonomy in the performance of their tasks. In order to improve the work efficiency of the committee, the Principal will make allocations of clerical, infrastructural and supporting staff assistance if and whenever required by the committees.


Objectives

  1. To create a secure physical and social environment which will deter acts of sexual harassment
  2. To promote a social and psychological environment that will raise awareness about sexual harassment in its various forms
  3. To provide an environment free of gender-based discrimination
  4. To facilitate a safe environment that is free of sexual harassment
  5. To develop guidelines and norms for policies against sexual harassment
  6. To develop principles and procedures to combat sexual harassment
  7. To organize gender sensitization awareness programme
  8. To deal with cases of discrimination and sexual harassment in a time bound manner, aiming at ensuring support services to the victimized

Definition of Sexual Harassment

Behaviors that may constitute harassment are: .

  1. Verbal or Physical threats.
  2. Insulting, Abusive, Embarrassing or Patronizing behaviour or Comments.
  3. Offensive gestures, Language, Rumours, Gossip or Jokes.
  4. Humiliating, Intimidating, Demeaning and/or Persistent criticism, Open hostility.
  5. Suggestive comments or Body language.
  6. Isolation or Exclusion from normal work or study place.
  7. Publishing, Circulating or displaying pornographic, Racist, Sexually suggestive or otherwise offensive pictures or other materials.
  8. Unwanted physical contact, ranging from an invasion of space to a serious assault. The above list is not intended to be exhaustive.

The following is also sexual harassment and is covered by the committee: .

  1. Eve-teasing.
  2. Unsavoury remarks.
  3. Jokes causing or likely to cause awkwardness or embarrassment.
  4. Innuendos and taunts.
  5. Gender based insults or sexist remarks.
  6. Unwelcome sexual overtone in any manner such as over telephone (obnoxious telephone calls) and the like.
  7. Touching or brushing against any part of the body and the like.
  8. Displaying pornographic or other offensive or derogatory pictures, cartoons, pamphlets or sayings.
  9. Forcible physical touch or molestation.
  10. Physical confinement against one’s will and any other act likely to violate one’s privacy.

Role And Responsibility

  1. To take all reasonable steps (active and preventive in nature) to prevent the harassment.
  2. Display anti-sexual harassment posters on notice boards in common work areas and distribute relevant brochures; Conduct regular awareness sessions for all staff and Students on sexual harassment issues.

Composition/Structure

  1. The Committee shall be presided by a Coordinator appointed by Principal shall comprise of a faculty member, Administrative staff appointed by the Principal and other student members.
  2. Upon the termination of services of either the Coordinator or the faculty member, the one in continued employment will hold the position of Coordinator, until any further appointment made by the Principal. The Principal will appoint a new faculty member to assist the Coordinator.
  3. Upon the termination of services of both Coordinator and the faculty member in charge, the Principal will reconstitute the Committee by making new appointments for filling the positions of Coordinator and faculty member.
  4. Any student of BMSCL is eligible to become a member of the Committee.
  5. Membership is voluntary. However, one is considered a member in the given academic term only if he or she has attended at least half of the group meetings in the current term.

Meetings

  1. The Committee shall meet as and when it is thought appropriate.
  2. The Committee preferably convenes meetings to discuss about the organization of any event or programme.
  3. Attendance to the meeting is compulsory.

Quorum of the Meeting

The quorum of the afore-said meeting shall be not less than 2/3 rd of the members required to be present for the meeting. .


Procedure for the Meeting

  1. All meetings shall be convened by the Chairperson with prior notice to all the members.
  2. It is compulsory for the faculty- member and student-members to attend the meeting.
  3. The Minutes of the Meeting should be recorded by the Chairperson.
  4. The Proceedings shall be signed by the Chairperson, members and Principal.

Procedure Followed/Details of Working

A complaint of sexual harassment may be lodged by the victim, in writing, addressed to the Coordinator or any member of the Committee. Any aggrieved person may make, in writing, a complaint of sexual harassment at workplace to the Committee giving details of the sexual harassment meted out to her/him within a period of 3 months from the date of incident and in case of a series of incidents, within a period of 3 months from the date of last incident.

  1. The Presiding Officer or any Member of the Anti-Sexual Harassment Committee can render reasonable assistance to the person for making complaint in writing, in case they are unable to do so.
  2. On receipt of complaint, the Anti-Sexual Harassment Committee shall decide the place and time for hearing the complaint and shall intimate the date, time and place of hearing to the Complainant and Respondent. The Anti-Sexual Harassment Committee shall follow principle of Natural Justice while handling such complaints.
  3. On receipt of such complaint, Anti-Sexual Harassment Committee shall provide a copy along with supporting documents of such complaints to the Respondent within 7 working days.
  4. Anti-Sexual Harassment Committee shall investigate in detail into the matter of the complaint. The Anti-Sexual Harassment Committee shall have the right to call the person against whom the complaint is made or any other witnesses as when necessary.
  5. Absent exceptional circumstances, the aggrieved woman and respondent should inform the Committee in writing at least 24 hours in advance of the hearing the names of any witnesses he/she wishes to testify. Any information shared during a hearing is confidential.
  6. The minutes of the proceedings shall be recorded in English .
  7. If a party is not present for more than 3 consecutive hearings, without sufficient cause, the Inquiry Committee may, after giving that party a notice of 15 days, give an ex parte decision.
  8. Committee must complete its investigation within a period 30 days.
  9. For conducting the enquiry the quorum of the Internal Complaints Committee shall be of 3 members including the presiding officer.
  10. The Anti-Sexual Harassment Committee may before initiating an inquiry, and at the aggrieved person’s request, attempt to settle the matter through conciliation. However, Anti-Sexual Harassment Committee shall ensure that:
    1. Monetary settlement will not be made as a basis of conciliation.
    2. Where a settlement has been arrived, the settlement terms shall be signed by both the parties and shall be provided with a copy of it.

Action

  1. The Committee shall on completion of the enquiry provide a report of its findings within 02 days from the date of completion of the enquiry and such report shall be made available to the concerned parties.
  2. If the allegation against the respondent has not been proved, the Committee may recommend that no action needs to be taken in the matter.
  3. If the Anti-Sexual Harassment Committee arrives at the conclusion that the allegation against the respondent has been proved, it shall recommend to:
    1. Take action for sexual harassment as a misconduct.
    2. To tender written apology to the complainant, issue warning, withholding of promotions / increments of the Respondent, terminating the Respondent.

Malicious Allegations

  1. Where the Inquiry Committee arrives at the conclusion that the allegation against the respondent is malicious, or the aggrieved woman or any other person making the complaint has made the complaint knowing it to be false, or the aggrieved woman or any other person making the complaint has produced any forged or misleading document, it may recommend to the Principal to take action against the aggrieved woman or the person making the complaint. This includes remedial and restorative steps of undertaking training or counseling, and coupled with proportionate actions including warning and disciplinary action, depending on the seriousness of the case.
  2. While deciding malicious intent, the Inquiry Committee will consider that mere inability to substantiate a complaint need not mean malicious intent. Malicious intent must be clearly established through a separate inquiry.
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