In this article, we will look into some of the important questions from the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013. Every year, we see many cases of women working in different part of industries going through some kind of sexual harrasment. Thus making it difficult for them to work and survive in an industry. Hence it is very important for the women workforce to know and understand the law created by the governments to protect them from any kind of workplace harrasment. Check here to know more about Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013.
Important Questions on the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace Act, 2013
1. What is Sexual Harassment ?
Ans. According to Section 2(n), sexual harrasment includes any one or more of the following unwelcome acts or behavior:-
(i) physical contact and advances, or
(ii) a demand or request for sexual favours, or
(iii) making sexually coloured remarks, or
(iv) showing pornography, or
(v) any other unwelcome physical, verbal or non-verbal conduct of sexual nature.
2. Who is an "aggrieved women" ?
Ans. According to Section 2(a) of this Act, an aggrieved women means:-
(i) in relation to a workplace, a woman, of any age whether employed or not, who alleges to have been subjected to any act of sexual harassment by the respondent.
(ii) in relation to dwelling place or house, a woman of any age who is employed in such a dwelling place or house.
3. What is the meaning of "appropriate government" according to this act ?
Ans. As per Section 2(b) of this Act, appropriate government means :-
(i) in relation to a workplace which is established, owned, controlled or wholly or substantially financed by funds provided directly or indirectly -
(A) by the Central Government or the Union territory administration, the Central Government;
(B) by the State Government, the State Government.
(ii) in relation to any workplace not covered under sub-clause (i) and falling within its territory, the State Government.
4. What is the meaning of "Chairperson" in this Act ?
Ans. As per Section 2(c), “Chairperson” means the Chairperson of the Local Complaints Committee nominated under sub-section (1) of section 7.
5. Who is "District officer" ?
Ans. As per Section 2(d), District Officer is an officer notified under Section 5 of Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013.
6. What is the meaning of "domestic worker" in the context of this Act ?
Ans. As per Section 2(e), "domestic worker" means a woman who is employed to do the household work in any household for remuneration whether in cash or kind, either directly or through any agency on a temporary, permanent, part time or full time basis, but does not include any member of the family of the employer.
7. Who is an "employee" ?
Ans. As per Section 2(f), employee is any person employed at a workplace for any work on regular, temporary, ad hoc or daily wage basis, either directly or through an agent, including a contractor, with or, without the knowledge of the principal employer, whether for remuneration or not, or working on a voluntary basis or otherwise, whether the terms of employment are express or implied and includes a co-worker, a contract worker, probationer, trainee, apprentice or called by any other such name.
8. What is the meaning of "employer" in this Act ?
Ans. As per Section 2(g), employer means -
(i) in relation to any department, organization, undertaking, establishment, enterprise, institution, office, branch or unit of the appropriate Government or a local authority, the head of that department, organization, undertaking, establishment, enterprise, institution, office, branch or unit or such other officer as the appropriate Government or the local authority, as the case may be, may by an order specify in this behalf.
(ii) in any workplace not covered under sub-clause (i), any person responsible for the management, supervision and control of the workplace.
(iii) in relation to workplace covered under sub-clauses (i) and (ii), the person discharging contractual obligations with respect to his or her employees.
(iv) in relation to a dwelling place or house, a person or a household who employs or benefits from the employment of domestic worker, irrespective of the number, time period or type of such worker employed, or the nature of the employment or activities performed by the domestic worker.
9. What is the meaning of "Internal Committee" ?
Ans. As per Section 2(h), Internal Committee means an Internal Complaints Committee constituted under section 4.
10. What is the meaning of "Local Committee" ?
Ans. As per Section 2(i), “local committee” means the Local Complaints Committee constituted under section 6.
11. What is the meaning of "member" ?
Ans. As per Section 2(j), “Member” means a Member of the Internal Committee or the Local Committee, as the case may be.
12. What is the meaning of "Presiding Officer" ?
Ans. As per Section 2(l), “Presiding Officer” means the Presiding Officer of the Internal Complaints Committee nominated under sub-section (2) of section 4.
13. Who is "respondent" in this Act ?
Ans. As per Section 2(m), “respondent’ is any person against whom the aggrieved woman has made a complaint under section 9.
14. What is the meaning of "unorganized sector" in relation to a workplace ?
Ans. As per Section 2(p), “unorganized sector” in relation to a workplace means an enterprise owned by individuals or self-employed workers and engaged in the production or sale of goods or providing service of any kind whatsoever, and where the enterprise employs workers, the number of such workers is less than ten.
15. Where does the provisions of Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 extends ?
Ans. It extends to the whole of India.
16. When did Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 came into force ?
Ans. This Act came into force on 9th December 2013.
17. Which of the circumstances are also considered as the act of sexual harrasment ?
Ans. The following circumstances among other circumstances, if it occurs, or is present in relation to or connected with any act or behavior of sexual harassment may amount to sexual harassment:-
(i) implied or explicit promise of preferential treatment in her employment.
(ii) implied or explicit threat of detrimental treatment in her employment.
(iii) implied or explicit threat about her present or future employment status.
(iv) interference with her work or creating an intimidating or offensive or hostile work environment for her.
(v) humiliating treatment likely to affect her health or safety.
18. Under which section government may notify a District Magistrate or Additional District Magistrate or the Collector or Deputy Collector as a District Officer to discharge power under this Act ?
Ans. Section 5
19. Under which section central government grants sum of money and allowances to State Government for holding the proceedings of the Local Committee ?
Ans. Section 8(1)
20. Which section talks about constituting an Internal Complaint Committee(ICC) in a workplace ?
Ans. Section 4
21. Who else can file a complain on behalf of aggrieved women ?
Ans. If an aggrieved women is unable to make a complaint on account of her physical or mental incapacity or death or otherwise, her legal heir or such other person as may be prescribed may make a complaint under this section.
22. What is Local Complaints Committee(LCC) ?
Ans. It is a committee constituted under Section 6(1) to receive complaints of sexual harrasment from establishment.
23. What is the time limit for filing a complain after the incident ?
Ans. 3 months
24. What is the time limit for completing the Inquiry ?
Ans. According to section 11(4), inquiry shall be completed within a period of 90 days.
25. What is the time limit for providing findings to the employer after completion of the inquiry ?
Ans. According to section 13(1), ICC or LCC should provide the report of its findings to the employer or DM within a period of 10 days from the date of the completion of the inquiry.
26. Under which section employer or DM can be recommended to not take any action when the allegation against the respondent has not been proved ?
Ans. Section 13(2)
27. Under which section employer or DM can be recommended to take action when the allegation against the respondent has been proved ?
Ans. Section 13(3)
28. Under which section ICC or LCC can recommend employer or DO to take action against aggrieved women for false or malicious complaint ?
Ans. Section 14(1)
29. Under which section ICC or LCC can recommend employer or DO to take action against aggrieved women for producing false evidence ?
Ans. Section 14(2)
30. Is the offence under Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 act cognizable ?
Ans. No, as per Section 27(3) every offence under this act shall be non cognizable.
31. Can an aggrieved women request for any relief like grant of leave or transfer of workplace during pendency of an inquiry ?
Ans. Yes, an aggrieved women can request for any such relief under Section 12.
32. Can a person request information about aggrieved women or her case details under Right to Information Act, 2005 ?
Ans. No. Under Section 16, the identity and addresses of the aggrieved women shall not be published or communicated to the public, press and media in any manner.
33. Who is the Nodal officer ?
Ans. Any officer as designated by the District Officer shall be the nodal officer in every block, taluka and tehsil in rural or tribal area and ward or municipality in the urban area.
34. Who shall nominate the members of Local Committee ?
Ans. District Officer
35. Who shall be the member of Local Committee ?
Ans. The Local Committee shall consists of following member to be nominated by the District Officer -
(a) a Chairperson to be nominated from amongst the eminent women in the field of social work and committed to the cause of women.
(b) one Member to be nominated from amongst the women working in block, taluka or tehsil or ward or municipality in the district.
(c) two members, of whom at least one shall be a woman, to be nominated from amongst such non-governmental organizations or associations committed to the cause of women or a person familiar with the issues relating to sexual harassment, which may be prescribed:
- Provided that at least one of the nominees should, preferably, have a background in law or legal knowledge.
- Provided further that at least one of the nominees shall be a woman belonging to the Scheduled Castes or the Scheduled Tribes or the Other Backward Classes or minority community notified by the Central Government, from time to time.
36. What shall be the maximum tenure for the Chairperson of the Local Committee ?
Ans. 3 years
37. What shall be the maximum tenure for every member of the Local Committee ?
Ans. 3 years
38. Can the matter be settled between an aggrieved women and respondent post completing the inquiry ?
Ans. No. The matter can only be settled before initiating an inquiry under Section 11.
39. Can the matter be settled between an aggrieved women and respondent at the request of respondent ?
Ans. No. The matter can only be settled at the request of aggrieved women.
40. Can a monetary settlement be made between as a basis of conciliation ?
Ans. Under Section 10(1), no monetary settlement shall be made as a basis of conciliation.
41. What shall be the jurisdiction of the Local committee formed ?
Ans. As per Section 6(3), the jurisdiction of the Local Committee shall extend to the areas of the district where it is constituted.
42. What is the time period for filing an appeal to the court or tribunal against the recommendation made under sub-section (2) of section 13 ?
Ans. An appeal should be made to the court of tribunal within a period of ninety days of the recommendations.
43. What are the different regards needs to be considered for determining the sums to be paid to the aggrieved woman ?
Ans. As per Section 15, below regards needs to be considered for determining the compensation to the aggrieved woman :-
(a) the mental trauma, pain, suffering and emotional distress caused to the aggrieved woman;
(b) the loss in the career opportunity due to the incident of sexual harassment;
(c) medical expenses incurred by the victim for physical or psychiatric treatment;
(d) the income and financial status of the respondent;
(e) feasibility of such payment in lump sum or in instalments.
44. Under which section a penalty shall be levied on publication or making known contents of complaint and inquiry proceedings ?
Ans. As per Section 17, a person shall be levied to any person entrusted with the duty to handle or deal with the complaint, inquiry or any recommendations or action to be taken under the provisions of this Act.
45. Which section violation attracts a penalty under Section 17 ?
Ans. The contravening of the provisions of Section 16 attracts the penalty under section 17.
46. Under which section an employer shall treat sexual harassment as a misconduct under the service rules and initiate action for such misconduct ?
Ans. Section 19(i)
47. Under which section an employer should provide the facilities to deal with the complaint and conduct an inquiry ?
Ans. Section 19(d)
48. Under which section an employer should organise workshops and awareness programmes at regular intervals for sensitising the employees with the provisions of the Act ?
Ans. Section 19(c)
49. Under which section an employer should display the consequences of sexual harassments at any conspicuous place in the workplace ?
Ans. Section 19(b)
50. Which section talks about providing safe working environment at the workplace by an employer ?
Ans. Section 19(a)
51. Under which section an employer shall provide assistance to the woman if she chooses to file a complaint in relation to the offence under Indian Penal Code or any other law ?
Ans. Section 19(g)
52. Under which section an employer shall include the number of cases filed in its annual report if any ?
Ans. Section 22
53. Which section impose penalty on employer for non-compliance with provisions of this Act ?
Ans. Section 26
54. What happens to an employer who gets convicted for the same offence twice ?
Ans. If any employer, after having been previously convicted of an offence punishable under this Act subsequently commits and is convicted of the same offence, he shall be liable to -
(i) twice the punishment, which might have been imposed on a first conviction, subject to the punishment being maximum provided for the same offence provided that in case a higher punishment is prescribed under any other law for the time being in force, for the offence for which the accused is being prosecuted, the court shall take due cognizance of the same while awarding the punishment;
(ii) cancellation, of his license or withdrawal, or non-renewal, or approval, or cancellation of the registration, as the case may be, by the Government or local authority required for carrying on his business or activity.
55. Under which section District Officer needs to send a brief report on the annual report received from ICC or LCC to state government ?
Ans. Section 21(2)
56. Under which section government shall the monitor the implementation of this Act ?
Ans. Section 23
57. How does government educate the public about the provisions of this Act ?
Ans. As per Section 24, appropriate government subject to availability of financial and other resources develop relevant information, education, communication and training materials, and organise awareness programmes, to advance the understanding of the public of the provisions of this Act providing for protection against sexual harassment of woman at workplace.
58. Under which section government should formulate and run training programs for the members of local committee ?
Ans. Section 24(b)
59. Under which section government can authorize any officer to make inspection of the records and workplace in relation to sexual harrasment ?
Ans. Section 25(1)(b)
60. Does the provisions of this Act is in derogation of the provisions of any other law ?
Ans. No. As per Section 28, this act is not in derogation of the provisions of any other law.
61. What are the inspection measures taken by the government to satisfy the interest of woman at the workplace ?
Ans. As per article 25, government takes below measures to make the inspection -
(a) call upon any employer or District Officer to furnish in writing such information relating to sexual harassment as it may require;
(b) authorize any officer to make inspection of the records and workplace in relation to sexual harassment, who shall submit a report of such inspection to it within such period as may be specified in the order.