With regard to the Supreme Court Judgement and guidelines issued in 1997 for the protection of the basic human rights for gender equality and guarantee against sexual harassment and abuse, it is necessary for employers to observe certain guidelines to ensure the prevention of sexual harassment of women at workplace. The members of the committee will ensure confidentiality of all matters related to the committee. A non – disclosure agreement will have to be signed by each member; failing to comply to the confidentiality clause will result in a suspension from the committee and a payment of a fine of Rupees One Thousand only (Rs. 1000/-). For all purpose of this policy, a person making a complaint of sexual harassment shall be referred to as “aggrieved person/complainant” and the person against whom the complaint is made shall be referred to as the “accused/respondent”.
Who are employees?
For purposes of this policy, employees will include:
- All students enrolled in the University
- All academic and administrative staff, whether working in the capacity of regular, temporary, adhoc, or daily wage basis
- All interns/volunteers who are on an assignment with the University
- An aggrieved person can report a case of sexual harassment directly to the Presiding Officer of the IC. A complaint can also be filed on behalf of the aggrieved person by a co-worker, colleague, counsellors, a relative or any person who has knowledge of the incident, in cases where the aggrieved person, for some specific reason, is unable to file the complaint herself/himself
- Complaints of sexual harassment must be filed within 3 months from the date of the incident or date of the last incident, in case of a series of incidents.
- The complaint letter must state the date of the incident, name of the accused, location where the incident occurred and working relationship between the two.
- The aggrieved person must try to submit as much evidence as possible, whether documented evidence or have witnesses who can corroborate the complaint.
- A employee or student who feel that a violation of this policy has occurred should immediately report the matter to the Presiding Officer of the IC.
- If that person is unavailable or the employee believes it would be inappropriate to contact the Presiding Officer, the complainant should contact any representative of the Committee.
- Any complaint against any faculty or employee or student shall be submitted to the Presiding Officer in writing (hard copy) with the details of the complainant such as Name, Department, Contact Number and Address. Depending on the gravity of the complaint the Presiding Officer will convene the Committee to look into the complaint
- All complaints made to the Presiding Officer will be received and recorded. The IC must write an acknowledgement letter of receiving the complaint.
- The committee will, within ten days of the receipt of a complaint, establish a prima facie case of sexual harassment on the basis of both the definition of sexual harassment as given in this policy, and the jurisdiction of this policy. For this, the Presiding Officer, Secretary and External Expert of the IC will screen the complaint and meet with the aggrieved person to get a better understanding of the case before proceeding.
- Reasons for not pursuing a complaint must be recorded in the minutes and made available to the complainant/aggrieved person in writing.
- The Committee will meet with the complainant/aggrieved person and explore the option of adopting an informal resolution of the complaint. This can include counselling, warning the accused/respondent to stop the unwelcome behaviour or appointing a neutral person to act as a conciliator between the two. However, this option will only be explored in minor cases and will be an exception to the norm.
- The complainant/aggrieved person can expect an empathetic attitude from the Committee; a copy of the statement and list of witnesses submitted by the respondent; his/her identity will be kept confidential and in case of fear or intimidation, the aggrieved person will not have to face the respondent during the enquiry procedure
- The accused/respondent can expect a patient hearing to present his/her case in a non – biased atmosphere; a copy of the complaint, evidence and list of witnesses submitted by the complainant; and his/her identity will be kept confidential
- Any employee or student who is found to have committed any act of misconduct will be served with a letter from the IC stating the charges leveled against him/her. Such an employee or student will be given an opportunity to explain and answer the charges leveled against her/him in the Committee.
- The aggrieved person may also have to appear before the Committee to provide a written statement against the perpetrator and submit all evidence to support her/his case.
- During the enquiry procedure, the aggrieved person/complainant and the accused/respondent will be called separately so as to ensure freedom of expression and an atmosphere free of intimidation.
- If needed, the IC will call upon witnesses to give their statements. They will be called independently of the complainant/aggrieved person or the accused/respondent.
- The Committee is bound to maintain confidentiality during the time of the enquiry
- The IC will ensure to complete enquiry within 3 months from the date of receiving the complaint.
- After collecting all necessary evidence and taking statements, the Committee will then draft its final report and submit their findings and recommendations to the Registrar of MLCU based on the evidence recorded and documents produced during the enquiry.
- The committee can suspend the accused/respondent if his/her presence is likely
to interfere with the enquiry.
- The aggrieved person making the complaint as per the Supreme Court judgment
will have the option to seek transfer of the accused/respondent or their own transfer where applicable.
- The aggrieved person will also be given the option to apply for leave as per the policy of the University
- The disciplinary action will be commensurate with the nature of the violation.
- The final report will be submitted to the Registrar of MLCU within 10 days of completion of the enquiry
- Before submitting its final report, the IC shall share its findings with both the parties and provide them an opportunity to make a representation against the findings.
- When investigations of a complaint is complete the IC must submit a final report
of whether they have found a prima facie case of sexual harassment or not. The
report must include a section of recommendations.
Where the Internal Committee arrives at a conclusion during or after the inquiry that the
complaint made against the respondent is either malicious or false, appropriate punitive
action may be taken on the person making the complaint. For this, the IC will submit its
report with recommending punitive action for the person to the Registrar of MLCU for
their immediate attention and action.