The Government of India, through the Department of Personnel & Training of the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions (“DoPT”), published the Office Memorandum F. No. 11012/0S/2016-Estt.A-III, dated 2nd June, 2016 regarding filing of appeals under Section 18 of the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013.
This Office Memorandum has clarified that all those organizations to which the Central Civil Services (Classification, Control and Appeal) Rules, 1965 apply, a representation by a complainant against the Report of the Internal Complaints Committee (“ICC”) (which Report the ICC is mandated to prepare after conducting an inquiry into a complaint) in a matter of sexual harassment shall be considered to be an appeal in accordance with Section 18 of the Act.
The DoPT has, therefore, stated that in a complaint of sexual harassment, where an ICC has not recommended any action against the Charged Officer, the Disciplinary Authority shall supply a copy of the Report of the ICC to the complainant. If the complainant makes a representation against the Report of the ICC, then the Disciplinary Authority shall have to consider her representation before coming to a final conclusion. DoPT has also made it clear that this representation, made by the complainant, shall be deemed to be an appeal under section 18 of the Act.
Section 18 of the Act provides that any person aggrieved from the recommendations made under the Act or non-implementation of such recommendations may prefer an appeal to the court or tribunal in accordance with:
- Provisions of the service rules applicable to such a person or
- Where no service rules exist then in accordance with the provisions of the Act. The Act and the Rules thereunder provides that any person aggrieved, may prefer an appeal to the appellate authority notified under Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Act, 1946.
The second provision of filing an appeal is available only if there are no service rules applicable to an organization. Hence, in the case of all those organizations where the Central Civil Services (Classification, Control and Appeal) Rules, 1965 are applicable, the second provision under Section 18 of the Act i.e. preferring an appeal to the appellate authority notified under Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Act, 1946 shall not be available.
Please click here to view a copy of the Office Memorandum.
– Adv. Shivangi Prasad – Corporate Lawyer, External Member & Trainer, Head – Legal & Compliance, Partner POSH at Work