Draft permits junior official to probe his boss

Draft permits junior official to probe his boss

Draft permits junior official to probe his boss

An officer accused of sexual harassment may not be able to prolong inquiry saying the head of the probe panel is junior to him in service.

The Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) has prepared a new draft allowing an official junior to the accused to head the internal committee dealing with sexual harassment complaints.

"It is clarified that the committee constituted in terms of the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013, is legally competent to hold an inquiry into a case irrespective of the fact that the chairperson of such a committee is lower in rank to the employee against whom the allegations have been made," the draft said.

According to the Act, an internal complaints committee is to be set up at every work place to deal with sexual harassment cases. It will headed by a woman and at least half its members should be women.

In case a woman officer of a sufficiently senior level is not available in a particular office, an officer from another office may be so appointed. To prevent the possibility of any undue pressure or influence from senior levels, such committees should involve a third party, either an NGO or some other body, which is familiar with the issue of sexual harassment, it stated.

Officials said numerous references seeking clarification on the rank of the chairperson of the committee were made to the department.

After examining the issue, the DoPT decided to come up with a draft in consultation with the Department of Legal Affairs and Ministry of Women and Child Development. It has been circulated to all central ministries and departments for an opinion before an office memorandum is issued.

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