Prevention of Sexual Harassment

Besant Women’s College has constituted an Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) as per the provisions of the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 and in conjunction with UGC (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal of Sexual Harassment of Women Employees and Students in Higher Educational Institutions) Regulations 2015.

ANTI SEXUAL HARASSMENT POLICY:

As per the guidelines of UGC, NAAC and the Supreme Court an Anti-Sexual Harassment Cell has been established by Besant Women’s College to provide a healthy and congenial atmosphere to the staff and students of the College. The cell was constituted to meet the four basic objectives:

  • To develop the guidelines and norms for a policy against sexual harassment.
  • To develop principles and procedures for combating sexual harassment.
  • To work out details for the implementation of the policy.
  • To prepare a detailed plan of action, both short and long term.

The objective of this Policy is to provide protection against sexual harassment and for prevention and redressal of complaints of sexual harassment and matters connected therewith and incidental thereto. The Policy also endeavors to set expectations regarding workplace behaviour and provide with a framework for reporting concerns.

SEXUAL HARASSMENT : Sexual Harassment means an unwanted conduct with sexual undertones if it occurs or which is persistent and which demeans, humiliates or creates a hostile an intimidating environment or is calculated to induce submission by actual or threatened adverse consequences and includes any one or more or all of the following unwelcome acts or behavior (whether directly or by implication), namely:

  • Demand or request of sexual favours.
  • Making sexually coloured remarks.
  • Physical Contact & advances.
  • Showing pornography.
  • Any unwelcome physical, verbal or nonverbal conduct of sexual nature.

Unwelcome actions such as the following are inappropriate and, depending on the circumstances, may in and of themselves meet the definition of sexual harassment or contribute to a hostile work environment:

  • Sexual pranks, or repeated sexual teasing, jokes, or innuendo, in person or via e-mail.
  • Verbal abuse of a sexual nature.
  • Touching or grabbing of a sexual nature.
  • Repeatedly standing too close to or brushing up against a person.
  • Repeatedly asking a person to socialize during off-duty hours when the person has said no or has indicated he or she is not interested (supervisors in particular should be careful not to pressure their employees to socialize).
  • Giving gifts or leaving objects that are sexually suggestive.
  • Repeatedly making sexually suggestive gestures.
  • Making or posting sexually demeaning or offensive pictures, cartoons or other materials in the workplace
  • Off-duty, unwelcome conducts of a sexual nature that affects the work environment. A victim of sexual harassment can be a man or a woman. The victim can be of the same sex as the harasser. The harasser can be a supervisor, co-worker, other Department employee, or a non-employee who has a business relationship with the Department.

THE COMMITTEE MEMBERS OF THE CELL SHALL HAVE THE FOLLOWING RESPONSIBILITIES:

  • Organize awareness programmes and campaigns for the benefit of all members of the College on sexual harassment and gender based discrimination.
  • Conduct formal inquiry and investigate and take decisions upon each complaint and recommend appropriate punishment or action to be taken, by the appropriate authority, in each instance.
  • Receive and redress complaints received from any member of the College (including students, research scholars, staff, hostel residents and outsiders on College premises)alleging sexual harassment by another member(s) of the College.
  • Ensure that all information pertaining either to complaints registered and the proceedings and findings of any inquiries and/or investigations are kept strictly confidential.

POWERS OF THE COMMITTEE:

  • The Committee shall have the power to summon witnesses and call for documents or any information from any employee/student.
  • If the Committee has reason to believe that an employee/student is capable of furnishing relevant documents or information, it may direct such person to produce such documents or information by serving a notice in writing on that person, summoning the person, or calling for such documents or information at such place and within such time as may be specified in the written notice.
  • Where any relevant document or information is recorded or stored by means of a mechanical, electronic or other device, the Committee shall have the power to direct that the same be produced, or that a clear reproduction in writing of the same be produced.
  • Upon production of documents / information called for by it, the Committee shall have the power to make copies of such documents / information or extracts there from; or retain such documents / information for such period as may be deemed necessary for purposes of the proceedings before it.
  • The Committee shall have the power to issue interim directions to / with regard to any person participating in the proceedings before it.
  • The Committee shall have the power to recommend the action to be taken against any person found guilty of (a) sexually harassing the complainant; (b) retaliating against / victimizing the complainant or any other person before it; and (c) making false charges of sexual harassment against the accused person.

FUNCTIONS OF THE COMMITTEE PREVENTIVE STEPS:

It will be the endeavor of the committee :

  • To facilitate a safe environment that is free of sexual harassment.
  • To promote behaviors that create an atmosphere that ensures gender equality and equal
    opportunities.

REMEDIAL STEPS:

  • To ensure that the mechanism for registering complaints is safe, accessible and sensitive.
  • To take cognizance of complaints about sexual harassment, conduct enquiries, provide assistance and redressal to the victims, recommend penalties and take action against the harasser, if necessary.
  • To advise the competent authority to issue warnings or take the help of the law to stop the harasser, if the complainant consents.
  • To seek medical, police and legal intervention with the consent of the complainant.
  • To make arrangements for appropriate psychological, emotional and physical support (in form of counseling, security and other assistance) to the victim if so desires.

PROCEDURE TO BE FOLLOWED BY THE COMMITTEE:

  • The Committee shall meet as and when any complaint is received by it. Complaint may be received by any member of the committee.
  • The Committee may direct the complainant to prepare and submit a detailed statement of incidents if the written complaint lacks exactness and required particulars, within a period of two (2) days from such direction or such other time period that the Committee may decide.
  • The Committee shall direct the accused employee(s) to prepare and submit a written response to the complaint / allegations within a period of four (4) days from such direction or such other time period as the Committee may decide.
  • Each party shall be provided with a copy of the written statement(s) submitted by the other.
  • The Committee shall conduct the proceedings in accordance with the principles of natural justice. It shall allow both parties reasonable opportunity of presenting their case. However, should the accused choose not to participate in the proceedings, the Committee shall continue ex parte.
  • The Committee 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 original / true copy.
  • The party against whom the document / witness is produced shall be entitled to challenge / cross-examine the same.
  • The Committee shall sit on a day-to-day basis to record and consider the evidence produced by both parties.
  • As far as practicable, all proceedings of the Committee shall take place in the presence of both parties.
  • Minutes of all proceedings of the Committee shall be prepared and duly signed by the members of the Committee.
  • The Committee shall make all endeavor to complete its proceedings within a period of fifteen (15) days from the date of receipt of complaint.
  • The Committee 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 (5) days from completion of the proceedings before it. In case the Committee finds that the facts disclose the commission of a criminal offence by the accused person, this shall be specifically mentioned in the Committee’s report.
  • 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: *Written apology *Bond of good behavior *Adverse remarks in the confidential report *Debarring from supervisory duties *Denial of membership of statutory bodies *Denial of re-employment/re-admission *Stopping of increments / promotion/denying admission ticket *Reverting, demotion *Suspension *Dismissal

If, in the course of the proceedings before it, the Committee is satisfied that any person has retaliated against / victimized the complainant or any person assisting the complainant as a result of the complaint having been made or such assistance having been offered, the Committee shall report the same in writing, to the Principal/Management, with reasons and with recommendations of the action to be taken against such person.

COMPLAINTS MADE WITH A MALICIOUS INTENT

If, at the culmination of the proceedings before it, the Committee is satisfied that the complainant has knowingly brought false charges of sexual harassment against any person, it shall report the same in writing to the Principal/Management, with reasons and with recommendations of the action to be taken against such person.

Members of Anti-sexual harassment Cell for the year 2021-22

The list of members and terms of references are given below:

Prof. Savithri Rao HOD,Dept. of Data Processing, Presiding Officer
Prof. Anupa Baliga Dept. of Commerce, P.G Studies, Member
Prof. Roopa Lokesh Dept. of Sociology, Member
Prof. Shirly Rani Ret. HOD, Dept. of Sociology, External Member
Ms. Merlyn Martis Director -Development Education Services(NGO), Lawyer,External Member
Ms. Lugina Miranda Psychological Counsellor, External Member
Ms. Thulsi Administrative Staff
Ms. Harshitha Achar I M. Com, Student
Ms. Hema I M.Sc(FND)
Ms. Rashmi Kotian I BCA, Student