Sexual Harassment of Women at their Work Place
(Prevention) Bill, 2003

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  1. Punishment for sexual harassment of women : Notwithstanding anything contained in any other law for the time being in force whoever sexually harasses a woman at work place shall be punished with simple imprisonment for a term which may extend to five years or wit fine which may extend to twenty thousand rupees or both.

  2. Burden of proof : Notwithstanding anything contained in any other law for the time being in force the onus of proving the innocence shall be on the accused and the victim shall have the right to lead evidence in rebuttal.

  3. Pleading in case of Harassed Women worker : Notwithstanding anything contained in any other law for the time being in force the case of a sexually harassed woman at a work place shall be pleaded at her option either by herself or with her counsel or by a women's organisation or the trade union of which she is a member.

  4. Trial to be held in camera :At the option of the trial of an offence committed under this Act shall be held in camera.

  5. Criminal Proceedings :

    1. Where the conduct of sexual harassment amounts to a specific offence under the Indian Penal Code or under any other law, the employer shall initiate action in accordance with law by making a complaint with the appropriate authority ensuring that the victims or witnesses are not victimized or discriminated against while dealing with the complaints of sexual harassment.

    2. The employers shall at the option of the victim, transfer of the perpetrator or the victim from the place of posting.

    3. Notwithstanding anything contained in clauses (i) & (ii), where the perpetrator of sexual harassment happens to be the employer of the victim, the Complaint Committee shall at the option of the victim transfer the perpetrator and ensure that the victim or witnesses are not victimized or discriminate against while dealing with the complaint of sexual harassment.

  6. Disciplinary Action : Where sexual harassment takes place at the instance of or by the employer, the employer shall also initiate appropriate disciplinary action in accordance with the rules relating to misconduct.

  7. Complaint Mechanism : The employer shall create an appropriate complaint mechanism as stated in section 14, within organisation for redressal of the complaint made by the victim. Such complaint mechanism should ensure time bound treatment of complaints.

  8. Complaint Committee :
    1. A complaints committee shall be constituted consisting of seven members headed by a woman and not less than half of its members shall be women.
    2. It shall include at least three non-government organisation or bodies familiar with the issue of sexual harassment.
    3. In case the establishment has a number of branches/offices etc. each such place shall have a separate committee.
    4. The committee shall complete its report within a period of six months from the date of receipt of the complaint of sexual harassment from the victim.
    5. The committee shall recommend appropriate punishment and the employer shall implement the same.
    6. It shall make an annual report to the Government department concerned, of the complaints and action taken by them.

     

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