SC uploads norms to deal with sexual offences in its premises

SC uploads norms to deal with sexual offences in its premises

The Supreme Court has put on its website the guidelines framed to deal with sexual harassment complaints within its precincts.

The notification on "The Gender Sensitisation & Sexual Harassment of Women at the Supreme Court of India (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal), Regulations, 2013" has been published in government's Gazette and it has been enforced.

As per the notification, "aggrieved woman means, in relation to the Supreme Court, any female, of any age, whether employed or not, who claims to have been subjected to any act of sexual harassment by any person in the Supreme Court of India precincts but does not include any female who is already governed by the Supreme Court service regulations."

It has also directed the apex court in its administrative jurisdiction to take note of the guidelines and to arrange that they are promulgated and given wide publicity.

In the regulation, "habitual respondent" would mean a person against whom a previous complaint of sexual harassment has been received by the Gender Sensitization and Internal Complaints Committee (GSICC) on earlier occasion, irrespective of whether the matter was resolved with or without an inquiry and except where the respondent has been exonerated in the previous complaint.

The committee will be constituted by the Chief Justice of India to be known as GSICC which would consist of a minimum of seven members and a maximum of 13.The committee will include one or two apex court judges, in terms of the 1997 Vishaka judgement and one of them would be the Chairperson of the the Committee.The guidelines said majority of the committee members shall be women. (More) PTI SKV RKS PAL 10211948
The guidelines said the committee shall ensure that every complaint of an aggrieved woman is adequately dealt with in accordance with the established procedure and with "complete sensitivity".

"The GSICC shall have the power to inquire into and pass orders against the respondent/ deviant/ delinquent in a complaint made in relation to any form of sexual harassment in the entire precincts of the Supreme Court," it said.

The gazette notification said "it is necessary to provide for gender sensitization in working environment and protection against sexual harassment of women at the Supreme Court precincts and for the prevention and redressal of complaints of sexual harassment and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto".

The woman had to make a complaint in writing of sexual harassment to the committee in accordance with the procedure.

"Provided that where the aggrieved woman is unable to make such a complaint in writing due to any reason, the member of the GSICC or volunteer, as the case may be, shall render all reasonable assistance to the woman for making the complaint in writing," the notifications said.

It also said that a fact-finding inquiry into a complaint shall be conducted and completed within 90 days of the constitution of the internal sub-committee.

The committee will have the power to recommend to the CJI to pass orders against the offender and the punishment will include debarment of entry in the apex court's precincts for a period upto one year.

The committee can also recommend filing a criminal complaint or a disciplinary complaint before the concerned disciplinary authority governing the respondent (including the concerned Bar Council) for taking appropriate action and the CJI may pass orders thereon. 

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