A detailed guide to PoSH Act for Judiciary Exam Preparation

Author : Yogricha

Updated On : April 29, 2024

SHARE

Overview: The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 

In a patriarchal society like India, where women's rights require special safeguarding, several laws have been enacted for their protection.

One significant legislation is the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition, and Redressal) Act of 2013. This law was enacted with the aim of shielding women from the scourge of sexual harassment in the workplace.

For Judiciary exams PoSH is important. States like MP, Delhi, UP, etc have PoSH in their syllabus and hence for every aspirant, who is targetting any of these states must prepare PoSH in depth.

Also we have curated notes for your preparation of Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace for Judiciary, Law exams and Law School exams.

In this article we will cover:

  1. Important sections of Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 for Judiciary
  2. Tips on how to prepare PoSH
  3. Notes for your preparation.
  4. Downloadable notes on Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013
  5. Questions for practice on PoSH
  6. Download other Study Material for your preparation

History of The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 (POSH Act)

In 1992, Bhanwari Devi, a social worker for the Rajasthan government's Women’s Development Project, was gang-raped by five men after she attempted to stop a one-year-old girl's marriage.

Following this incident, activist groups filed pleas, prompting the Supreme Court to respond due to the absence of any laws ensuring the enforcement of gender equality and protection against sexual harassment in workplaces.

In 1997, the Court established the Vishakha Guidelines, which provided interim measures to address these issues until formal legislation could be adopted. These guidelines were made mandatory and enforceable across all workplaces.

The Supreme Court based these guidelines on various constitutional provisions, including Article 15, which prohibits discrimination on several grounds including sex, and on international norms, notably the General Recommendations of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), which India ratified in 1993.

Get Details: Know Best Books for Judiciary Mains Exams

Notably, the recent identification of shortcomings in the Act by the Supreme Court is not the first instance of its intervention. The Court has previously had to issue multiple directives to ensure the robust implementation of the Vishakha Guidelines since their inception in 1997.

Additionally, the National Commission for Women has actively contributed by submitting drafts for a Workplace Code of Conduct in the years 2000, 2003, 2004, 2006, and 2010.

Sexual Harassment definition under the PoSH Act:

Under the PoSH Act, sexual harassment is defined as unwelcome acts such as physical contact and sexual advances, demands or requests for sexual favors, making sexually colored remarks, showing pornography, and any other unwelcome physical, verbal, or non-verbal conduct of a sexual nature.

The Act specifies five scenarios that qualify as sexual harassment if linked to these acts:

  1. Implied or explicit promise of preferential treatment in employment;
  2. Implied or explicit threat of detrimental treatment in employment;
  3. Implied or explicit threat regarding an individual's present or future employment status;
  4. Interference with work performance or creation of an intimidating, offensive, or hostile work environment; and
  5. Humiliating treatment likely to impact health or safety.

Know more: Everything About Judiciary Exams

Important Sections in PoSH Act for Judiciary Preparation:

If you are aiming to crack Judiciary exam in 2024 and PoSH is a part of the syllabus, then here is a list of all the important sections that you need to pay special attention to while preparing:

Section Number
Section 2
Section 3
Section 4
Section 6
Section 9
Section 10
Section 11
Section 12
Section 13
Section 14
Section 15
Section 16
Section 21
Section 22
Section 25
Section 26

Notes on PoSH Act for Judiciary 2024 Preparation

INTRODUCTION

In the wake of the Supreme Court of India's landmark Vishaka Judgment in 1997, which addressed workplace sexual harassment, significant legislative advancements have been made.

Sixteen years after this pivotal ruling, which mandated that all employers establish a mechanism to address grievances of workplace sexual harassment and enforce gender equality for working women, the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 ("Prevention of Workplace Sexual Harassment Act") was enacted.

This Act, effective from December 9, 2013, was introduced by the Ministry of Women and Child Development, India, accompanied by specific rules known as the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Rules, 2013 ("Prevention of Workplace Sexual Harassment Rules").

Read about: Upcoming Judiciary Exams in 2024

OBJECTIVES AND LEGISLATIVE CONTEXT

The primary goal of the Prevention of Workplace Sexual Harassment Act is to prevent and protect women from sexual harassment at their place of work and to provide effective remedies for complaints related to such harassment.

This legislation seeks to address the lack of specific laws on the topic, aiming to ensure a safe and secure work environment for women of all ages and employment statuses.

Furthermore, the enactment of the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013, which criminalizes sexual harassment, stalking, and voyeurism, complements these efforts by reinforcing the legal framework.

SCOPE AND APPLICABILITY

The Prevention of Workplace Sexual Harassment Act is comprehensive, extending across the entire nation and applying to both organized and unorganized sectors. This includes government bodies, private and public sector organizations, non-governmental organizations, and entities engaged in commercial, vocational, educational, entertainment, industrial, or financial activities.

Additionally, hospitals, nursing homes, educational institutes, sports institutions, and even residential settings fall under its jurisdiction. It is important to note that this statute is specifically designed to protect women, and is not gender-neutral.

DEFINITION OF SEXUAL HARASSMENT

The definition of sexual harassment under the Act aligns with that provided by the Supreme Court in the Vishaka Judgment. It includes any unwelcome sexually determined behavior such as:

  1. Physical contact and advances
  2. Demands or requests for sexual favors
  3. Sexually colored remarks
  4. Showing pornography
  5. Any other unwelcome physical, verbal, or non-verbal conduct of a sexual nature

Read About:  Judiciary Exam Preparation Tips

Additionally, the Act specifies certain circumstances that, if linked to the behaviors listed above, could constitute sexual harassment. These include:

  • Implied or explicit promise of preferential treatment in employment
  • Threat of detrimental treatment in employment
  • Threats concerning an individual’s present or future employment status
  • Interference with work performance or creation of an intimidating, offensive, or hostile work environment
  • Humiliating treatment likely to affect a woman's health or safety

These comprehensive definitions and scenarios are intended to ensure that all forms of sexual harassment are recognized and addressed within the workplace, providing clear guidelines for prevention and redressal.

Read about: Prepare for Judiciary Exams from Scratch

Detailed Overview of Key Components Under the Prevention of Workplace Sexual Harassment Act

Employee Definition The Prevention of Workplace Sexual Harassment Act encompasses a broad definition of 'employee' to include a wide array of working arrangements.

This includes regular, temporary, and ad hoc employees, individuals paid on a daily wage basis, contract laborers, co-workers, probationers, trainees, and apprentices.

This coverage extends regardless of whether these workers are hired directly or through an agent, and irrespective of the employer's awareness. The Act also covers employees working voluntarily or under any other non-paid arrangements, whether their terms of employment are explicitly stated or implied.

Workplace Definition The Act introduces the concept of an 'extended workplace', acknowledging that sexual harassment may occur beyond the primary place of employment. Therefore, a 'workplace' under this Act includes any location visited by the employee related to or during their employment. This definition also covers transportation provided by the employer for commuting to and from the place of employment, broadening the scope of where workplace norms and protections apply.

Complaints Committee Structure and Function

Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) The Act mandates that every office or branch of an organization with 10 or more employees establish an Internal Complaints Committee (ICC). The ICC's primary role is to hear and redress grievances related to sexual harassment. It consists of:

  • A Presiding Officer who is a woman employed at a senior level at the workplace.
  • At least two members from among the employees, who are preferably committed to women's cause or have experience in social work or legal knowledge.
  • An external member from an NGO or association committed to the cause of women or familiar with issues related to sexual harassment.
  • At least half of the ICC members must be women.
  • The term for ICC members is set at a maximum of three years.
  • A minimum of three members, including the Presiding Officer, is required to be present to conduct an inquiry.

Get Details: Why Reading Bare Acts is necessary for Judiciary 

Local Complaints Committee (LCC) For the unorganized sector or establishments with fewer than 10 employees, the government must set up a Local Complaints Committee (LCC) at the district level. This committee also handles cases where the complaint is against the employer. The LCC serves to investigate and redress complaints similarly to the ICC.

Powers of ICC and LCC Both the ICC and LCC are vested with powers akin to those of a civil court under the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908. These powers include:

  • Summoning and enforcing the attendance of any person and examining them under oath.
  • Requiring the discovery and production of documents.
  • Addressing any other prescribed matters.

Know more: Toppers Tips to prepare for judiciary exams 

Complaint Mechanism An aggrieved woman must submit six copies of her written complaint along with supporting documents and the names and addresses of witnesses to the ICC or LCC. This submission should occur within three months from the date of the incident, or in the case of a series of incidents, within three months from the date of the last incident. The committees can extend this filing deadline by an additional three months for reasons recorded in writing. Additionally, in cases where the aggrieved woman is unable to file the complaint herself due to physical or mental incapacity, or death, friends, relatives, co-workers, psychologists, or psychiatrists can file the complaint on her behalf.

A detailed guide to PoSH Act for Judiciary Exam Preparation

Author : Yogricha

April 29, 2024

SHARE

Overview: The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 

In a patriarchal society like India, where women's rights require special safeguarding, several laws have been enacted for their protection.

One significant legislation is the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition, and Redressal) Act of 2013. This law was enacted with the aim of shielding women from the scourge of sexual harassment in the workplace.

For Judiciary exams PoSH is important. States like MP, Delhi, UP, etc have PoSH in their syllabus and hence for every aspirant, who is targetting any of these states must prepare PoSH in depth.

Also we have curated notes for your preparation of Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace for Judiciary, Law exams and Law School exams.

In this article we will cover:

  1. Important sections of Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 for Judiciary
  2. Tips on how to prepare PoSH
  3. Notes for your preparation.
  4. Downloadable notes on Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013
  5. Questions for practice on PoSH
  6. Download other Study Material for your preparation

History of The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 (POSH Act)

In 1992, Bhanwari Devi, a social worker for the Rajasthan government's Women’s Development Project, was gang-raped by five men after she attempted to stop a one-year-old girl's marriage.

Following this incident, activist groups filed pleas, prompting the Supreme Court to respond due to the absence of any laws ensuring the enforcement of gender equality and protection against sexual harassment in workplaces.

In 1997, the Court established the Vishakha Guidelines, which provided interim measures to address these issues until formal legislation could be adopted. These guidelines were made mandatory and enforceable across all workplaces.

The Supreme Court based these guidelines on various constitutional provisions, including Article 15, which prohibits discrimination on several grounds including sex, and on international norms, notably the General Recommendations of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), which India ratified in 1993.

Get Details: Know Best Books for Judiciary Mains Exams

Notably, the recent identification of shortcomings in the Act by the Supreme Court is not the first instance of its intervention. The Court has previously had to issue multiple directives to ensure the robust implementation of the Vishakha Guidelines since their inception in 1997.

Additionally, the National Commission for Women has actively contributed by submitting drafts for a Workplace Code of Conduct in the years 2000, 2003, 2004, 2006, and 2010.

Sexual Harassment definition under the PoSH Act:

Under the PoSH Act, sexual harassment is defined as unwelcome acts such as physical contact and sexual advances, demands or requests for sexual favors, making sexually colored remarks, showing pornography, and any other unwelcome physical, verbal, or non-verbal conduct of a sexual nature.

The Act specifies five scenarios that qualify as sexual harassment if linked to these acts:

  1. Implied or explicit promise of preferential treatment in employment;
  2. Implied or explicit threat of detrimental treatment in employment;
  3. Implied or explicit threat regarding an individual's present or future employment status;
  4. Interference with work performance or creation of an intimidating, offensive, or hostile work environment; and
  5. Humiliating treatment likely to impact health or safety.

Know more: Everything About Judiciary Exams

Important Sections in PoSH Act for Judiciary Preparation:

If you are aiming to crack Judiciary exam in 2024 and PoSH is a part of the syllabus, then here is a list of all the important sections that you need to pay special attention to while preparing:

Section Number
Section 2
Section 3
Section 4
Section 6
Section 9
Section 10
Section 11
Section 12
Section 13
Section 14
Section 15
Section 16
Section 21
Section 22
Section 25
Section 26

Notes on PoSH Act for Judiciary 2024 Preparation

INTRODUCTION

In the wake of the Supreme Court of India's landmark Vishaka Judgment in 1997, which addressed workplace sexual harassment, significant legislative advancements have been made.

Sixteen years after this pivotal ruling, which mandated that all employers establish a mechanism to address grievances of workplace sexual harassment and enforce gender equality for working women, the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 ("Prevention of Workplace Sexual Harassment Act") was enacted.

This Act, effective from December 9, 2013, was introduced by the Ministry of Women and Child Development, India, accompanied by specific rules known as the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Rules, 2013 ("Prevention of Workplace Sexual Harassment Rules").

Read about: Upcoming Judiciary Exams in 2024

OBJECTIVES AND LEGISLATIVE CONTEXT

The primary goal of the Prevention of Workplace Sexual Harassment Act is to prevent and protect women from sexual harassment at their place of work and to provide effective remedies for complaints related to such harassment.

This legislation seeks to address the lack of specific laws on the topic, aiming to ensure a safe and secure work environment for women of all ages and employment statuses.

Furthermore, the enactment of the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013, which criminalizes sexual harassment, stalking, and voyeurism, complements these efforts by reinforcing the legal framework.

SCOPE AND APPLICABILITY

The Prevention of Workplace Sexual Harassment Act is comprehensive, extending across the entire nation and applying to both organized and unorganized sectors. This includes government bodies, private and public sector organizations, non-governmental organizations, and entities engaged in commercial, vocational, educational, entertainment, industrial, or financial activities.

Additionally, hospitals, nursing homes, educational institutes, sports institutions, and even residential settings fall under its jurisdiction. It is important to note that this statute is specifically designed to protect women, and is not gender-neutral.

DEFINITION OF SEXUAL HARASSMENT

The definition of sexual harassment under the Act aligns with that provided by the Supreme Court in the Vishaka Judgment. It includes any unwelcome sexually determined behavior such as:

  1. Physical contact and advances
  2. Demands or requests for sexual favors
  3. Sexually colored remarks
  4. Showing pornography
  5. Any other unwelcome physical, verbal, or non-verbal conduct of a sexual nature

Read About:  Judiciary Exam Preparation Tips

Additionally, the Act specifies certain circumstances that, if linked to the behaviors listed above, could constitute sexual harassment. These include:

  • Implied or explicit promise of preferential treatment in employment
  • Threat of detrimental treatment in employment
  • Threats concerning an individual’s present or future employment status
  • Interference with work performance or creation of an intimidating, offensive, or hostile work environment
  • Humiliating treatment likely to affect a woman's health or safety

These comprehensive definitions and scenarios are intended to ensure that all forms of sexual harassment are recognized and addressed within the workplace, providing clear guidelines for prevention and redressal.

Read about: Prepare for Judiciary Exams from Scratch

Detailed Overview of Key Components Under the Prevention of Workplace Sexual Harassment Act

Employee Definition The Prevention of Workplace Sexual Harassment Act encompasses a broad definition of 'employee' to include a wide array of working arrangements.

This includes regular, temporary, and ad hoc employees, individuals paid on a daily wage basis, contract laborers, co-workers, probationers, trainees, and apprentices.

This coverage extends regardless of whether these workers are hired directly or through an agent, and irrespective of the employer's awareness. The Act also covers employees working voluntarily or under any other non-paid arrangements, whether their terms of employment are explicitly stated or implied.

Workplace Definition The Act introduces the concept of an 'extended workplace', acknowledging that sexual harassment may occur beyond the primary place of employment. Therefore, a 'workplace' under this Act includes any location visited by the employee related to or during their employment. This definition also covers transportation provided by the employer for commuting to and from the place of employment, broadening the scope of where workplace norms and protections apply.

Complaints Committee Structure and Function

Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) The Act mandates that every office or branch of an organization with 10 or more employees establish an Internal Complaints Committee (ICC). The ICC's primary role is to hear and redress grievances related to sexual harassment. It consists of:

  • A Presiding Officer who is a woman employed at a senior level at the workplace.
  • At least two members from among the employees, who are preferably committed to women's cause or have experience in social work or legal knowledge.
  • An external member from an NGO or association committed to the cause of women or familiar with issues related to sexual harassment.
  • At least half of the ICC members must be women.
  • The term for ICC members is set at a maximum of three years.
  • A minimum of three members, including the Presiding Officer, is required to be present to conduct an inquiry.

Get Details: Why Reading Bare Acts is necessary for Judiciary 

Local Complaints Committee (LCC) For the unorganized sector or establishments with fewer than 10 employees, the government must set up a Local Complaints Committee (LCC) at the district level. This committee also handles cases where the complaint is against the employer. The LCC serves to investigate and redress complaints similarly to the ICC.

Powers of ICC and LCC Both the ICC and LCC are vested with powers akin to those of a civil court under the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908. These powers include:

  • Summoning and enforcing the attendance of any person and examining them under oath.
  • Requiring the discovery and production of documents.
  • Addressing any other prescribed matters.

Know more: Toppers Tips to prepare for judiciary exams 

Complaint Mechanism An aggrieved woman must submit six copies of her written complaint along with supporting documents and the names and addresses of witnesses to the ICC or LCC. This submission should occur within three months from the date of the incident, or in the case of a series of incidents, within three months from the date of the last incident. The committees can extend this filing deadline by an additional three months for reasons recorded in writing. Additionally, in cases where the aggrieved woman is unable to file the complaint herself due to physical or mental incapacity, or death, friends, relatives, co-workers, psychologists, or psychiatrists can file the complaint on her behalf.

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