About the Justice JS Verma Committee:
- After the Nirbhaya incident in December 2012, the Justice JS Verma committee was formed and provided recommendations for tightening laws to combat crimes against women.
Recommendations of the JS Verma Committee on the Sexual Harassment at Workplace Act:
- In the Sexual Harassment at Workplace Act, the Justice J.S. Verma Committee suggested that an employment tribunal be established instead of an internal complaints committee (ICC).
- The committee proposed that the tribunal not act as a civil court and instead choose its own procedure for dealing with each complaint in order to ensure that complaints are dealt with quickly.
- The act’s provision for an internal complaints committee may be counterproductive, as dealing with such issues in-house may deter women from registering complaints.
- Domestic employees should be included in the Act’s scope of application.
- The Committee called the Sexual Harassment Act “unsatisfactory,” saying it did not reflect the spirit of the Supreme Court’s Vishakha rules, which were enacted in 1997 to combat workplace sexual harassment.
- The Committee stated that any “unwelcome behavior” should be judged from the perspective of the complainant’s subjective perception, thus extending the definition of sexual harassment.
- According to the Verma panel, an employer should be held accountable if he or she allowed sexual harassment to become widespread and systemic by facilitating it.
- When an employer fails to disclose the company’s sexual harassment policy and the procedures for filing a complaint,
- When an employer fails to file a complaint with the tribunal, the employee has the right to sue.
- In addition, the corporation would be liable to compensate the plaintiff.
- The Verma panel also stated that the three-month time limit for filing a complaint should be abolished, and that a complainant should not be relocated without her consent, as this might potentially negate the law’s goal.
About the 2013 Protection of Women Against Sexual Harassment at Work Act:
- It was enacted to protect women from sexual harassment at work.
- The Act defines workplace sexual harassment and establishes a process for resolving complaints. It also protects against false or malicious accusations.
- At each office or branch with ten or more employees, every employer is obligated to form an Internal Complaints Committee.
- The Complaints Committees have the same evidence-gathering powers as civil courts.
- If the complainant requests it, the Complaints Committee must provide for mediation before launching an investigation.
- Employers have been subjected to penalties. A fine will be imposed if the terms of the Act are not followed.
- Repeated infractions may result in increased penalties and the revocation of a company license or registration.
Source: THE HINDU