A writ petition was filed before the Bombay High Court under Article 226 by Dasharath Kallappa Bhosale (“Petitioner”) in the matter of Dasharath Kallappa Bhosale vs. State of Maharashtra & Ors. and Bombay High Court on 11th March 2021 asked concerned authorities if a notification under Rule 11 of Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Rules, 2013 (“POSH Rules”) regarding Appellate Authority existed and if not then within how much time they will issue said notification.
The background leading to this is that the Local Complaints Committee, Pune found the Petitioner guilty of sexual harassment and had imposed a penalty on him under the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 (“POSH Act”).
The Petitioner being aggrieved by Local Committee’s order preferred an appeal before the Industrial Court, Pune. The Industrial Court rejected the appeal on the ground that they have no jurisdiction to entertain the appeal and said that “no notification has been issued in the name of the Industrial Court as per rule 11 of Prevention of Sexual Harassment Rule 2013.”
In this context it is important to look at Section 18 and Rule 11 of POSH Act & Rules. Section 18 of the POSH Act states that “Any person aggrieved from the recommendations made under sub-section (2) of section 13 or under clause (i) or clause (ii) of sub-section (3) of section 13 or sub-section (1) or subsection (2) of section 14 or section 17 or non-implementation of such recommendations may prefer an appeal to the court or tribunal in accordance with the provisions of the service rules applicable to the said person or where no such service rules exist then, without prejudice to provisions contained in any other law for the time being in force, the person aggrieved may prefer an appeal in such manner as may be prescribed.”
Rule 11 of POSH Rules states that “…any person aggrieved from the recommendations made under sub-section (2) of section 13 or under clauses (i) or clause (ii) of sub-section (3) of section 13 or sub-section (1) or sub-section (2) of section 14 or section 17 or non-implementation of such recommendations may prefer an appeal to the appellate authority notified under clause (a) of section 2 of the Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Act, 1946 (20 of 1946).”
The Bombay High Court after considering the abovementioned ordered on 11th March 2021 that an affidavit be filed by the concerned officer explaining whether they issued the notification under Rule 11 of the POSH Act to notify the Appellate Authority, if not, then within how much time they will issue said notification to notify the Appellate Authority.
In response of the same, over 7 years after the passing of the POSH Act, the Government of Maharashtra being an appropriate Government appointed 20 Industrial Courts constituted under section 10 of the Maharashtra Industrial Relations as the Appellate Authority to exercise the functions of an Appellate Authority under the POSH Act in respect of the Industrial Establishments in relation to which the State Government is the appropriate authority.
– Esha Shah, Paralegal