Vigilance Matters

1. Whether there is any Rule for prohibition of sexual harassment of working woman?

Ans: Yes. Rule 3-C of CCS (Conduct) Rules, 1964 prohibits sexual harassment of any woman at her workplace.

2. What are the specific provisions of the Rule?

Ans: (1) No Government servant shall indulge in any act of sexual harassment of any woman at her work place.
(2) Every Government servant who is incharge of a workplace shall take appropriate steps to prevent sexual harassment to any women at such workplace.

3. What are the guidelines and norms to be maintained to prevent and deal with cases of sexual harassment in working place?

Ans: The Hon'ble Supreme Court has laid down guidelines and norms in this matter in the case of Vishakha & Ors. Vs. State of Rajasthan & Ors. (Jt. 1997(7) SC 384). These guidelines and norms to be observed to prevent sexual harassment of working woman have been circulated to all Ministries and Departments vide DOPT's O.M. No. 11013/10/1997-Estt.A dated 13.2.1998. A copy of these guidelines are available on the website on the Ministry at . As per above guidelines, there should be a Complaints Committee, a special Counsellor or other support service including maintenance of confidentiality.(DOPT's O.M. dated 21.7.2009 and 7.8.2009)

4. What is the status of the report of the Complaints Committee?

Ans: In its Order dated 26.04.2004 in the Writ Petition No. 173-177/1999 in the case of Medha Kotwal Lele and Ors. Vs. U01 & Ors. the Hon'ble Supreme Court has directed that ' the Reports of the Complaints Committee shall be deemed an Inquiry Report under the CCS Rules. Thereafter, the Disciplinary Authority will act on the report in accordance with the Rules'. Sub-Rule (2) of Rule 14 of CCS (CCA) Rules, 1965 has accordingly been amended to provide that the Complaints Committee shall be deemed to be the Inquiry Authority for the purpose of these Rules by the Notification No. 11012/5/2001-Estt.A dated 01.07.2004 (GSR 225 dated 10th July, 2004). In view of the said amendment made to the CCS(CCA) Rules, the instructions contained in DOPT's O.M. dated 12th Dec., 2002 stands modified and the report of the Complaints Committee should be treated as an inquiry report and not a preliminary report. (DOP&T O.M. No.110131312009-Estt. (A) Dated the 21st July, 2009]
[DOPT OM dated 12.12.2002 as amended by O.M. dated 4.8. 2005]

5. Is there any Charge Sheet in such cases?

Ans: The Complaint forwarded by the DA to the Complaint Committee is treated as Charge Sheet. Specific Charge Sheet may also be made on the basis of complaints.

6. Is the procedure prescribed in the CCS(CCA) Rule 14 followed in such enquiries?

Ans: The Complaint Committee is the competent authority in such cases to decide the procedure. However, since the report of the committee is to be treated as the enquiry report under the CCS(CCA) rules and the Disciplinary Authority is to take action on that report as per the same rules the procedure prescribed in rule 14 of the CCS(CCA) Rules are to be followed as far as practicable.
(DOP&T O.M. No. 11013/3/2009-Estt. (A) dated the 3 rd August, 2009]

7. Whether copy of the report should be given to the Charged Officer/ Complainant?

Ans: Yes, may be given.

8. What is Sexual Harassment at workplace?

Ans: Sexual Harassment is any unwelcome act or behaviour (whether express or implied), such as:-

  • Physical contact or advance
  • A demand or request for sexual favours
  • Making sexually coloured remarks
  • Showing pornography
  • Any other physical, verbal or non-verbal conduct of a sexual nature.

Sexual harassment at workplace can take various forms. It can involve conduct such as:

  • unwelcome touching, hugging or kissing
  • staring or leering
  • suggestive comments or jokes
  • unwanted or persistent requests to go out
  • intrusive questions about another person’s private life or body
  • insults or taunts of a sexual nature
  • sexually explicit pictures, posters, screen savers, emails, twitters, SMS or instant messages.
  • inappropriate advances on social networking sites
  • behaviour which would also be an offence under the criminal law.
9. What will the Complaints Committee does when a complaint is submitted to it?

Ans: The Complaints Committee (ICC) will conduct an inquiry into the complaint by calling all the concerned parties i.e. complainant, respondent [the person(s) against whom complaint is being made], witnesses etc. Later, on the basis of the testimonies of the concerned parties and evidences (documentary or otherwise) gathered, the Committee will frame its findings, which will be shared with the employer. If the Committee comes to the conclusion that the allegations against the respondent are genuine, it shall recommend action that needs to be taken by the employer against such person. However, if the Committee concludes after inquiry that no case is being made against the respondent, it shall recommend that no action to be taken against the respondent.

10. What is Internal Complaints Committee (ICC)?

Ans: Every organization has to constitute an Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) having following members

  • Chairperson – Women working at senior level in the organisation
  • 2 Members (at least) – Amongst employees committed to women issues, have legal knowledge or experience in social work
  • 1 Member – from NGO

If the organisation has workplaces located at different places or division or sub-division level, then ICC will be constituted at every workplace.

11. Can the complainant ask for some interim relief during the inquiry from ICC?

Ans: During the inquiry, at the written request of complainant, ICC can provide following interim reliefs to the complainant:

  • Transfer the complainant or respondent to any other place
  • Grant leave to the complainant for upto 3 months in addition to her entitled leave
  • Restrain the respondent from reporting on the work performance/ writing confidential report of aggrieved
  • Restrain the respondent from supervising academic activities of aggrieve