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Monitoring compliance to SH Act

The application of the Sexual Harassment of Women At Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act (the SH Act), 2013 at all workplaces is monitored. Monitoring is a way to ensure compliance of the Act on the ground. As an additional means of monitoring, the Act mandates the submission of Annual Reports with specific information as well as specific consequences where compliance is lacking.

Institutions responsible for monitoring

The Act authorizes appropriate government to monitor the implementation of the Act. As per the Act, Appropriate Government means:

  1. In relation to a workplace which is established, owned, controlled or wholly or substantially financed by funds provided directly or indirectly-
    • (i) By the Central Government or the Union Territory administration, the Central Government;
    • (ii) By the State Government, the State Government;
  2. In relation to any workplace not covered under sub-clause (i) and falling within its territory, the State Government;

Measures to be taken for monitoring

To monitor the Act, the Appropriate Government has the authority to undertake any of the following measures:

Inspection

In relation to workplace sexual harassment, when it is in the public interest or in the interest of women employees, every employer/District Officer can be ordered by the Appropriate Government i.e. State and Central Government, to make available any information, record or document, including opening its workplace for inspection relating to the same.

Annual Report

The Appropriate Government is entrusted with the monitoring of the implementation of MGNREGA and for maintaining the data on the number of cases filed and disposed of under it.  In particular, the Act mandates submission of an Annual Report by the Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) / Local Complaints Committee (LCC) to the employer/District Officer.

The District Officer will forward a brief report on the annual reports to the appropriate State Government. Such reports must include the following information:

    • No. of complaints received;
    • No. of complaints disposed of;
    • No. of cases pending for more than 90 days;
    • No. of workshops/awareness programmes carried out;
    • Nature of action taken by the employer/DO;

The Report of ICC will be forwarded to the DO through the employer.

Penalties

An employer can be subjected to a penalty of up to INR 50,000 for:

    • Failure to constitute Internal Complaints Committee
    • Failure to act upon recommendations of the Complaints Committee; or
    • Failure to file an annual report to the District Officer where required; or
    • Contravening or attempting to contravene or abetting contravention of the Act or Rules.

Where an employer repeats a breach under the Act, they shall be subject to:

    • Twice the punishment or higher punishment if prescribed under any other law for the same offence.
    • Cancellation/Withdrawal/Non-renewal of registration/license required for carrying on business or activities.

Monitoring is a critical yardstick to measure success in terms of compliance with the Act. Additionally, it highlights those areas, in terms of law and practice, which may require improvement and/or additional information and guidance at both the State as well as the workplace levels.

Source : Handbook on Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace



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