Internal Committee under POSH Act


Sexual harassment in the workplace is a deeply upsetting problem that undermines an organization’s standards, increases employee unease, saps motivation, and openly violates workers’ fundamental rights. The government passed the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 in an effort to stop and prevent this problem.

The POSH Internal Committee (IC): What is it?

It  is an important statutory requirement that must be met by the employer. The Act stipulates, among other things, that any organization with more than ten employees must establish an internal  committee. As its name implies, this IC was established to hear complaints about sexual harassment in the workplace from aggrieved women who felt wronged. After looking into the complaints, it investigates them further and, based on its findings, advises the employer on what should be done, penalties are stipulated under the Act and the Rules.

The Internal Committee’s Role

When allegations of sexual harassment occur in the workplace, the IC is crucial. For this reason, the POSH Act requires that the IC be established in any organization that employs more than ten people. It gives sexual harassment victims a way to file complaints. When the IC receives a complaint about sexual harassment, it looks into the matter thoroughly before determining whether the complainant or the person making the claim has truly been harassed. Following its investigation, it renders a decision on whether the accused should face punishment and, if so, what kind of punishment.  There are also penal consequences if the IC finds out the the complaint was made with malicious intent.

Call to Action
Upcoming POSH Certification Workshop
Register Now

The Internal Committee’s constitution

It is necessary for the IC to be established in the way that the POSH Act, 2013 specifies. IC will be made up of:

Presiding Officer: A woman must serve as the IC’s presiding officer. Among the staff members, this woman ought to hold a senior position in the company.

Minimum of two female employees: The IC should be made up of a minimum of two female employees who are either social workers with legal expertise or who are devoted to the cause of women.

An external member is a person who is not affiliated with the organization and is not an employee. This person should come from non-governmental organizations (NGOs) or associations that support women, or they could be anyone with knowledge of issues related to  sexual harassment.

Who can contact the Internal Committee under POSH Act?

An “aggrieved woman” who experiences sexual harassment at work may file a complaint with the IC. This resentful woman might be a worker or even a guest at the office. In the event that the victim is unable to file a complaint on her own account because of a physical or mental disability or death, the law also permits another person (legal heir or prescribed person) to do so.

How does one file a complaint with the Internal Committee under POSH Act?

Within three months of the incident date, or the last incident (in case there were various incidents), a complaint must be filed with the IC. The time frame, however, may be extended if the IC determines that the complainant’s circumstances prevented the complaint from being filed within that window of time.

The ICC can help the complainant with this requirement as the complaint must be submitted in writing. The identities and addresses of the aggrieved woman, the respondent, and the witnesses are all concealed or shielded from public view in the applications and. Even the details surrounding the IC’s proceedings are shielded from public view.

Call to Action
Upcoming POSH Certification Workshop
Register Now

How is the sexual harassment complaint handled by the Internal Committee under POSH Act?

The aggrieved woman or complainant has two options after the Internal Committee receives their complaint: they can choose to pursue an IC inquiry or engage in conciliation to resolve their issue. The victim in question must be given all the information, including the advantages and disadvantages of both the inquiry and conciliation, by the IC, and must then make a decision.

Inquiry: Following the collection of evidence by both sides, the IC conducts an impartial investigation. The IC’s inquiry is expected to be finished in ninety working days. Both parties are afforded an equal opportunity to be heard throughout the inquiry. An inquiry report must be sent to the employer following the IC’s completion of the inquiry. The report will include both the action that needs to be taken and recommendations. If the IC finds the accused guilty, the employer must act within 60 days, against the accused.

Interim Relief: The POSH laws give the aggrieved woman some relief even while the investigation is ongoing. The purpose of this is to reduce discomfort at work. The IC may grant the complainant the following actions as relief:

Transfer: The accused/respondent or the aggrieved woman may be moved to any other place of employment, or

Leave: The aggrieved woman can be granted leave upto a period of 3 months, which would be in addition to the leave she is otherwise entitled to.

– By Anaida Khan Pursuing 4th year of BALLB (Hons.) from Dharmashashtra National Law University, Jabalpur

Comments are closed.