COMMITTEE FOR PREVENTION OF SEXUAL HARASMENT (CPOSH)
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In accordance with the UGC guidelines, all Universities and Colleges must establish a committee/cell to deal with the instances of sexual harassment covered under the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013, as per the directions of the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India in the Case of Vishakha Vs the State of Rajasthan.
St Thomas College constituted a committee named “CPOSH” i.e, “Committee for Prevention of Sexual Harassment” for redressal of internal complaints against sexual harassment, effective enforcement of the basic human rights of gender equality and to provide a conducive atmosphere in the campus for all students and staff members. Every year the committee organizes awareness programmes, panel discussions, self-defence programmes etc., against sexual harassment that can be either psychological, verbal, emotional or through electronic media.
According to Sexual Harassment of Women at the Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act 2013. Sexual harassment is any unwelcome sexually purposeful behaviour, such as:
St. Thomas College does not allow any leeway in the matter of sexual harassment and even a single incident of sexual harassment, if found to be true after investigation as per this policy, is bound to be met with the strictest of disciplinary action based on the nature and intensity of the violation. The punishment in case of violation/offence even includes termination of employment or expulsion from the institution and payment of compensation to the victim directly by the person found guilty of sexual harassment. Depending upon the requirement of law, the college uses its discretionary powers to deal with such incidents and does not even hesitate to report to the police and/or other authorities for further action.
While sexual harassment is an issue that can affect men and women alike, more commonly women in workplaces bear the brunt of these incidents. The policy is gender neutral and covers with equal rigor everyone on the campus, irrespective of gender and age, even including same-sex harassment.
The Committee shall meet as and when any complaint is received by any of its members.
1) It may direct the complainant to prepare & submit a detailed statement of incidents, if the written complaint lacks exactness & required particulars, within a period of two days from such direction or such other time that it may consider reasonable.
2) It shall then direct the accused employee(s) to prepare and submit a written response to the complaint / allegations within a period of four days from such direction or such other time that it may consider reasonable. Each party shall be provided with a copy of the written statement(s) submitted by the other.
3) The Committee shall then conduct the proceedings in accordance with the principles of natural justice. It shall allow both parties a reasonable opportunity of presenting their case. It shall allow both parties to produce relevant documents and witnesses to support their case. Documents produced by either party shall be affixed with that party’s signature to certify the document as an original / true copy.
4) The party against whom the document(s) &/or witness(es) are produced shall be entitled to challenge the same.
5) The Committee shall sit on a day-to-day basis to record and consider the evidence produced by both parties. All the proceedings of the Committee shall take place in the presence of both parties.
6) Minutes of all proceedings of the Committee shall be prepared and duly signed by the members of the Committee who are then present.
7) The Committee shall make all endeavour to complete its proceedings within a period of fifteen days from the date of receipt of complaint.
8) It shall record its findings in writing supported with reasons and shall forward the same with its recommendations, to the Principal/Management, within a period of five days from completion of the proceedings. In case it finds that the facts disclose the commission of a criminal offence by the accused person, it will specifically mention that in its report.
9) If, in the course of the proceedings before it, the Committee is satisfied that a prima facie case of sexual harassment is made out against the accused employee(s)/student and that there is any chance of the recurrence of any such action, or that it is required to do so in the interests of justice, it may, on the request of the complainant or otherwise, disciplinary action could be initiated in the form of:-
If, during the proceedings or before it, the Committee is satisfied that any person has retaliated against / victimized the complainant or any person assisting the complainant for the reason of complaint been made or assistance been offered, the Committee shall report the same in writing, to the Principal/Management along with recommendations for action to be taken against such person(s).