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

  • This law was introduced based on Vishakha Guidelines.
  • Women named Bhanwari Devi was subject to sexual harassment during a performance of her work.
  • In this case, Vishakha & others filed a PIL in the Hon’ble Supreme Court.
  •  During the hearing, so stated that existing laws of India are not adequate to protect women at the workplace.
  •  Therefore a strong law is required to protect women from sexual harassment at work place.
  •  So, the Hon’ble Supreme Court issued directions to protect the women & to provide remedial measures in the absence of the law.

    ➢ In 2013, the law for the protection of women from sexual assessment was enacted based on
    these guidelines.
    ➢ So This Act Called “Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013″


Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 was passed by Lok Sabha on 3 Septemeber, passed by Rajya Sabha on 26 February 2012, and came into force on 9 December 2013.

This act has 8 chapters and 30 sections.

The main aim of this act is to protect women from sexual harassment in their workplace.

Chapters and their Subjects
Chapter Subject Section Covers
Chapter – 1 Preliminary  Sections → 1 to 3
Chapter – 2 Internal Complaints Committee Section → 4
Chapter – 3 Local complaint Committee Sections → 5 to 8
Chapter – 4 Complaint  Sections →9 to 11
Chapter – 5 Enquiry into Complaints   Sections → 12 to 18
Chapter – 6 Duties of Employer  Section → 19
Chapter – 7 Duties of District officer  Section→ 20
Chapter – 8 Miscellaneous   Sections → 21 to 30

(Table 1.1)

Important Section and their Subjects
Important Section and Its Subject
  1. Section→ 1 ⇒ Extent & commencement scope

2. Section→ 2 ⇒ Definition

3. Section→ 3 ⇒ Prevention of Sexual harassment

4. Section→ 4 ⇒ Internal complaint committee

5. Section→5 ⇒ Notification of District officer.

6. Section→ 6 – 7 ⇒ Local complaint committee

7. Section→ 8 ⇒ Grant and Audit

8. Section→ 9 ⇒ Complaint

9. Section→ 10 ⇒ Conciliation

10. Section→ 11 ⇒ Enquiry

11. Section→ 12 ⇒ Relaxation during the pendency of enquiry

12. Section→ 15 ⇒ Compensation

13. Section→ 18  ⇒ Appeal

14. Section→ 19 ⇒ Duties of Employer

15. Section→ 20 ⇒ Duties of District Officer

16. Section→ 26 ⇒ Penally

(Table 1.2)

Important Provision under “Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013″
Important Definitions

Aggrieved Women:- Section 2(a) of the said act deals with Aggrieved Women. Aggrieved women mean women are subjected to sexual harassment in the workplace.
If domestic maids are sexually harassed at their workplace then they are protected/covered by this law.

Work Place:- Section 2 (o) of said act deals with with Definition of Work Place. Here, Work Place Includes all places of work such as officers, Godown, factories etc and if women are visiting any other place to work.
Example of Workplace:-
1. For domestic maids the respires more.
2. Gym, Stadium for sportswomen.Employee

Employee:- Section 2 (f) of the said act deals with the Definition of Employee. Here Employee includes the following:
1. Regular Employee
2. Part-time Employee
3. Probationer
4. Trainee
5. Daily Wager
6. Contract Employee etc.

Employer : Section 2 (g) of the said act deals with the Definition of Employer.

Who is Employer according to said section?

➢ In relation to govt. departments

Head of the office

➢ In case of private officer

In charge of that officer

➢ In relation to domestic maid

The person who employed her.

Sexual harassment:- Section 2 (n) of the said act deals with the Definition of Sexual harassment.
➢ Sexual harassment includes the following:
1. Physical Contact
2. Demanding sexual favours
3. Sexually coloured remarks
4. Showing pornographic material
5. Verbal or gestural behaviour of sexual nature

Section 3: Prevention of Sexual Harassment

→ Section 3 of said act deals with the Prevention of Sexual Harassment.

No woman shall be subjected to sexual harassment at any workplace.

Among others the following are also included in sexual harassment.

  • Promise for favourable action or threatening for unfavourable actions in relation to present employment.
  • Promise or threat for favourable or unfavourable action for future employment.
  • Creating a hostile atmosphere at the workplace.
  • Humiliating behaviour causing a threat to her safety.
Section 4: Internal Complaint Committee (ICC)

→ Section 4 of the said act deals with the Internal Complaint Committee (ICC)

Internal Complaint Committee (ICC)

  • ICC must be constituted if a number of employees are more than 10.
  •  Committee shall be constituted by the employer.
  • Senior women officer shall be appointed as the presiding officer. In addition to her 3 members are appointed.
  • Out of the members one must be from any NGO and the remaining may be appointed from the employees. Three must be women majority in the committee
Section 6 – 7 : Local Complaint Committee (LCC)

→ Sections 6 and 7 of the said act deal with the Local Complaint Committee (LCC)

Local Complaint Committee (LCC) 

  • LCC must be constituted by the district officer (DM)
  • There must be one chairperson and four other memberss in the committee at least.
  • Generally, women of repute, working for the women’s rights shall be appointed as chairperson.
  •  One member must be from an NGO.
  •  One member must be a locally employed woman.
  •  Women majority must be in the committee
  •  Participation of SC, ST, Minority, and Community must be ensured.
  • The employees must submit their complaints to ICC. But in the following circumstances, the complaint may be fired at LCC directly.
    (a) If the employee hasn’t constituted ICC.
    (b) The complaint is against the employer.
    (c) The Domestic maids.
Section 9 :- Complaint

→ Section 9 of the said act deal with the Complaint

  • The aggrieved women must make the complaint in writing.
  •  The complaint must be submitted in last 90 days of incident
  •  The complaint must have name of the accused, date, time & detail of the incident.
Section 10 :- Conciliation

→ Section 10 of the said act deal with the Conciliation
➢ The conciliation may be arried on the request of women before initiation of the enquiry but it shall not be on monetary ground.
➢ After conciliation a report must be forwarded to DM or employer.

Enquiry into → Complaint / Hearing

 Enquiry starts if conciliation is not arrived.

Opportunity of being heard is provided to both the parties.

The committee has the power similar to civil court during the hearing and the committee must complete the enquiry in 90 days.
The enquiry report shall be forwarded to→ DM or the employee.

Action during Enquiry :

Committee may recommend the following:-

  • 90 days leave to the aggrieved women.
  • Transfer of the women to other place.
  • Transfer of the accused to other place.
  • Committee may recommend compensation to the women for mental & emotional harassment.
  •  It shall be recovered from the accused.

Duties of the Employee (Sec-19) :-

→ To provide safe and friendly environment to the women at workplace.
→ To constitute ICC.

→If the aggrieved women demands legal action then employer shall provide all
possible support.
→The employer shall display awareness messages at appropriate at workplace.

Penalty (Sec – 26):
➢ It employs fails to perform his duties then penalty of Rs. 50K can be imposed.
➢ For Subsequent offense penalty of 1 lakh and the cancellation license.

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