Karnataka State Bar Council
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KARNATAKA STATE BAR COUNCIL SEXUAL HARASSMENT OF WOMEN AT WORKPLACE (PREVENTION, PROHIBITION AND REDRESSAL) RULES, 2015
Contents

CHAPTER-1

  • 1. Short tile, extent and commencement
  • 2. Definitions

CHAPTER-II

  • 3. Application of the Rules
  • 4. Preventive Action

CHAPTER-III

  • 5. Composition of the Sexual Harassment Complaints and Redressal Committee (Internal Complaints Committee)
    1. a. Composition
    2. b. Appointment
    3. c. Tenure
    4. d. Disqualification of Chairperson and Members
    5. e. Vacancy
    6. f. Resignation of a member
    7. g. Quorum
    8. h. Proceedings
    9. i. Meetings
    10. j. Contact details
  • 6. Functions of the Sexual Harassment Complaints and Redressal Committee

CHAPTER-IV

Complaint, enquiry, punishments and penalties

  • 7. Complaints procedure of Sexual Harassment
  • 8. Procedure for Inquiry
  • 9. Powers of the SHCRC
  • 10. Composition of the District Sexual Harassment Complaints and Redressal Committee (Internal Complaints Committee)
  • 11. Terms and conditions of office of the Chairperson and members of the DSHCRC
  • 12. Powers and functions of the DSHCRCs
  • 13. Punishment and penalties

CHAPTER-V

Miscellaneous

  • 14. Determination of Compensation
  • 15. Obligations of the State Bar Council
  • 16. Third party harassment
  • 17. False or Malicious complaint
  • 18. Penalty for Contravention of Rule 14
  • 19. Appeal
  • 20. Budget
  • 21. Fees or allowance of Chairperson and members of the Sexual Harassment Complaints and Redressal Committee
  • 22. Savings
  • 23. Annual Report

CHAPTER-1

Preamble

WHEREAS sexual harassment at workplace results in violation of the Fundamental Rights of a woman to equality under Articles 14 and 15 of the Constitution of India and her Right to life and to live with dignity under Article 21 of the Constitution and Right to practice her profession under Article 19(1) (g) of the Constitution which includes a Right to a safe environment free from sexual harassment;

AND WHEREAS protection against sexual harassment and the right to work with dignity are universally recognised Human Rights by international conventions and instruments such as Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women, 1979 which has been ratified on the 9th July, 1993 by the Government of India;

AND WHEREAS it is expedient to make provisions for giving effect to the said Convention for protection of women against sexual harassment at workplace;

In keeping with the provisions of the Constitution (Articles 14, 15, 19(1) (g) and 21) and International Conventions, the Sexual Harassment of Women At Workplace (Prevention, Prohibiting and Redressal) Bill was introduced in Parliament and was passed by the Lok Sabha on 3rd September 2012. The Bill was passed by the Rajya Sabha on 26th February 2013. The Act received the assent of the President on the 22nd April, 2013. It was published in the Gazette of India, Extraordinary, Part-II, Section-1, dated the 23rd April 2013 as Act No. 14 of 2013.

The Act uses a definition of sexual harassment which was laid down by the Honourable Supreme Court of India in Vishaka v. State of Rajasthan (AIR 1997 SC 3011), wherein it was established that actions resulting in violation of one’s rights to ‘Gender Equality’ and ‘Life and Liberty’ are in fact violation of the victim’s Fundamental Right under Article 19 (1)(g). Sexual harassment violates a woman's rights in the workplace and is thus not just a matter of personal injury.

In keeping with the Provisions of the Sexual Harassment of Women At Workplace (Prevention, Prohibiting and Redressal) Act, 2013 and the direction of the Honourable Supreme Court of India in its order dated 19th October 2012 in Medha Kotwal & others V. Union of India & others (W.P. (Criminal) Nos. 173-177 of 1999) and in pursuance of the representation dated 28th February 2014 made by lady Advocates, in pursuance of the opinion of the Honourable High Court of Karnataka in Sumana Baliga. M v. Committee for Prevention of Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace, High Court of Karnataka (W.P. No. 8914/2012), Karnataka State Bar Council, as the Principal Body concerned with the welfare and well being of Advocates in the state of Karnataka, recognising the need for a policy to deal with Sexual Harassment by a resolution dated 01-10-2014 appointed a Sexual Harassment Complaints and Redressal Committee for Lady Advocates in the state of Karnataka.

Sexual Harassment of Lady Advocates occurring in their workplace or in other settings in which Lady Advocates may find themselves in connection with their professional work, is unlawful and will not be tolerated by the Karnataka State Bar Council. The Karnataka State Bar Council endeavours to protect Lady Advocates from harassment in their work place. To achieve this goal of providing a workplace free from sexual harassment, this policy provides a procedure to deal with inappropriate conduct if encountered by Lady Advocates.

The Karnataka State Bar Council will take allegations of sexual harassment seriously, and will respond promptly to complaints of sexual harassment and where it is determined that such inappropriate conduct has occurred, prompt action will be taken and impose such corrective action as is necessary, including disciplinary action where appropriate. In furtherance of the above, Karnataka state Bar Council has framed the following Rules:

1. Short tile, extent and commencement

  • 1. These Rules may be called the Karnataka State Bar Council Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Rules, 2015.

  • 2. These Rules are framed to provide protection against sexual harassment of lady Advocates at workplace and for the prevention and redressal of complaints of sexual harassment and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto. These Rules extend to all Lady Advocates enrolled on the Rolls of the Karnataka State Bar Council and also includes prevention and redressal of third party harassment of a Lady Advocate.

  • 3. These Rules will come into force on the date specified by the Karnataka State Bar Council at the time of adopting these Rules.

2. Definitions

  • a. “Act”- means the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013.

  • b. “Aggrieved woman”- means a woman who is enrolled as an Advocate on the Rolls of the Karnataka State Bar Council.

  • c. “Chairperson”- means Chairperson of the Sexual harassment Redressal Committee of the Karnataka State Bar Council.

  • d. “Complaint”- means complaint made under Section 9 of the Act.

  • e. “Complainant”- means the aggrieved woman who submits a complaint of sexual harassment.

  • f. “Court”- means all courts of law within and outside the state of Karnataka including quasi-judicial bodies and Tribunals where the aggrieved woman appears in the capacity of an Advocate.

  • g. “District Sexual Harassment Complaints and Redressal Committees” (DSHCRCs)- refers to the Internal Complaints Committee constituted under Rule 10 of these Rules.

  • h. “District Officer”- means an officer notified under Section 5 of the Act.

  • i. “Employer”- means the Karnataka State Bar Council in consonance with Section (g)(ii) of the Act.

  • j. “Internal Complaints Committee”- refers to the Sexual Harassment Complaints and Redressal Committee and the District Sexual Harassment Complaints and Redressal Committees constituted by the Karnataka State Bar Council.

  • k. “Respondent”- means a person irrespective of gender against whom the aggrieved woman has made a complaint under Section 9 of the Act.

  • l. “Member”- refers to member of the Sexual harassment Redressal Committee of the Karnataka State Bar Council.

  • m. “NGO”- for the purpose of this policy means any non-governmental organization operating on a secular non-profit basis and involved in counselling and issues related to women.

  • n. “Sexual Harassment” includes any one or more of the following "unwelcome” acts or behaviour (whether directly or by implication) namely:
    1. a) Physical contact and advances, or
    2. b) A demand or request for sexual favours (either implicitly or explicitly), or
    3. c) making sexually coloured remarks, or
    4. d) showing pornography; or
    5. e) Any other unwelcome physical, verbal or non-verbal conduct (or communication) of a sexual nature.

It may also include:

  • (i) Implied or explicit promise of preferential treatment in her profession; or
  • (ii) Implied or explicit threat of detrimental treatment in her profession; or
  • (iii) Implied or explicit threat about her present or future professional status; or
  • (iv) Interference with her work or creating and intimidating or offensive orhostile work environment for her; or
  • (v) Humiliating treatment likely to affect her physical and mental health or safety.

While it is not possible to list all circumstances that may constitute sexual harassment, the following are some examples of conduct which if unwelcome, may constitute sexual harassment depending upon the totality of the circumstance including the severity of the conduct and its pervasiveness:

  1. a. Unwelcome sexual advances—whether they involve physical touching or not:
  2. b. Eve-teasing (or stalking)
  3. c. Sexual epithets, jokes, written or oral references to sexual conduct, gossip regarding one’s sex life; comment on an individual’s body, comment about an individual’s sexual activity, deficiencies, or prowess
  4. d. Inquiries into one’s sexual experiences
  5. e. Discussion on one’s sexual activities
  6. f. Unsavoury remarks (or stares)
  7. g. Jokes causing or likely to cause awkwardness or embarrassment
  8. h. Innuendos and taunts
  9. i. Gender based insults or sexist remarks
  10. j. Unwelcome sexual overtone in any manner such as over telephone (obnoxious telephone calls, emails, letters] and the like
  11. k. Touching or brushing against any part of the body and the like (either physically or through an extension e.g., use of stick or scale to touch the bodypart of another person)
  12. l. Displaying pornographic or other offensive or derogatory pictures, cartoons, pamphlets or sayings
  13. m. Forcible physical touch or molestation
  14. n. Physical confinement against one's will and any other act likely to violate one's privacy
  15. o. Act or conduct by a person in authority which creates the environment at workplace hostile or intimidating to a person belonging to the female sex
  16. p. behaviour that creates an environment that is intimidating, hostile, or offensive for members of the female sex, and thus interferes with a person’s ability to work.

  • o. “Sexual Harassment Complaints and Redressal Committee” (SHCRC) – refers to the Internal Complaints Committee constituted under Rule 5 of these Rules.

  • p. “State Bar Council”- refers to the Karnataka State Bar Council constituted under Section 3 of the Advocates Act, 1961.

  • q. “Workplace”- includes:
    1. i) all court premises throughout the state of Karnataka
    2. ii) court premises outside the state of Karnataka where the aggrieved woman is present by virtue of discharging her professional duties as an Advocate.
    3. iii) law chambers where the aggrieved woman is present by virtue of discharging her professional duties as an Advocate.
    4. iv) any other place within or outside the state of Karnataka where the aggrieved woman is present by virtue of discharging her professional duties as an Advocate.

CHAPTER-II

3. Application of the Rules

These Rules will be applicable to:

  • a) All allegations of sexual harassment by an aggrieved woman against another Advocate, which is alleged to have taken place at the workplace;
  • b) All allegations of sexual harassment made by an aggrieved woman against a non-Advocate/ third party which is alleged to have taken place at the work place;
  • c) Cases of heterosexual as well as same sex harassment;

4. Preventive Action

Consistent with the Act, the Karnataka State Bar Council shall take all reasonable steps to ensure prevention of sexual harassment at its workplace. Such steps shall include:

  1. (i) Providing a safe working environment at all the court premises within the state of Karnataka in close co-ordination with the Registrars of the respective courts.
  2. (ii) Circulating this policy to all persons employed by or in any way acting in connection with the work and/or functioning of Court premises within the state of Karnataka.
  3. (iii) Displaying in conspicuous places of court premises, the penal consequences of sexual harassment; and the order constituting the Sexual Harassment Redressal Committee.
  4. (iv) Conducting or causing to carry out gender training on sexual harassment for the staff working within the court premises as well as members of the Bar throughout the state of Karnataka at regular intervals.
  5. (iv) Treating sexual harassment if committed by an Advocate, as a misconduct under the Advocates Act, 1961.
  6. (v) Giving wide publicity to these Rules including uploading this policy and related information on the State Bar Council website. Including

CHAPTER-III

5.Composition of the Sexual Harassment Complaints and Redressal Committee (Internal Complaints Committee)

  • (1) In order to address grievances due to sexual harassment and to effectively redress the same, a Sexual Harassment Complaints and Redressal Committee (hereinafter referred to as SHCRC) shall be set up.
    • a. Composition:
      1. i. The SHCRC shall consist of seven members including the Chairperson.
      2. ii. The Chairperson shall be a Lady Advocate of considerable seniority and experience in the legal profession.
      3. iii. At least four members shall be women including the Chairperson.
      4. iv. At least two other members excluding the Chairperson shall be Lady Advocates of eminent standing in the legal profession.
      5. v. One member should be a representative of an NGO with considerable experience in issues pertaining to women.
      6. vi. The President of the State Bar Council shall be an ex officio member of the SHCRC.
      7. vii. In addition to the President of the State Bar Council, a senior male member of the State Bar Council shall be a member of the SHCRC.
      8. viii. A Secretary shall be nominated by the SHCRC from amongst its members.
    • b. Appointment: The members of the SHCRC shall be selected and appointed by the State Bar Council.

    • c. Tenure: Membership to the SHCRC including the Chairperson shall be for a period of three years from the date of appointment.

    • d. Disqualification of Chairperson and Members: The Chairperson or a member shall be disqualified from continuing as the Chairperson or member of the SHCRC as the case may be, if:
      1. i) He/she contravenes the provisions of Section 16 of the said Act (prohibition of publication or making known contents of complaint and enquiry proceeding as envisaged under the Right to Information Act, 2005) or

      2. ii) He/she has been convicted for an offence or an inquiry into an offence under any law for the time being in force is pending against him/her; or criminal charges are made and prima facie established against him/her or

      3. iii) He/she is found guilty of any disciplinary proceedings or a disciplinary proceeding is pending against him/her or

      4. iv) If he/she is an Advocate, upon him/her ceasing to be an Advocate or upon his /her ‘sanad’ being suspended or

      5. v) He/she remains absent without permission of the SHCRC Committee for two consecutive meetings of the SHCRC or

      6. vi) He/she has so abused his/her position in the SHCRC as to render his/her continuance in such position prejudicial him/her so discharging duties in the SHCRC.
    • e. Vacancy: In the event of any Vacancy in the SHCRC Committee due to resignation, termination or death or for any other reason whatsoever the same shall (within a period of two months of such vacancy) be filled in accordance with the procedures prescribed in these Rules.
    • f. Resignation of a member: A member of the Committee may resign from his/her office at any time by giving his/her resignation to the Chairperson. In the case of the Chair person, she may resign from her office at any time by giving her resignation to the Chairperson of the State Bar Council.
    • g. Quorum: A quorum of 5 members is required to be present for the proceedings to take place. The quorum shall include the Chairperson and at least four members two of whom shall be women.
    • h. Proceedings: The Committee shall be governed by such rules as enacted under the Act.
    • i. Meetings: All meetings of the SHCRC Committee shall take place in the premises of the State Bar Council or at any other notified venue.

6. Functions of the Sexual Harassment Redressal Committee

The SHCRC shall:

  • a) undertake awareness programmes for Advocates and court staff on sexual harassment of women at workplace throughout the state of Karnataka.
  • b) ensure prominent publicity of these Rules in all court premises throughout the state of Karnataka.
  • c) assist Bar Associations throughout the state of Karnataka to set up Sexual Harassment Redressal Committees in their respective districts.
  • d) address sexual harassment grievances of Lady Advocates.
  • e) inquire into complaints of sexual harassment by aggrieved women.
  • f) maintain a register to endorse the complaint received by it and keep the contents confidential, except to use the same for discreet investigation.
  • g) assist the aggrieved woman in obtaining appropriate remedies in instances where sexual harassment is proved.
  • h) ensure that victims and witnesses are not victimized or discriminated because of their complaint.
  • i) undertake any other related activities as authorised by the State Bar Council from time to time.

CHAPTER-IV

Complaint, enquiry, punishments and penalties

7. Complaints of Sexual Harassment

  • i) If any Lady Advocate believes that she has been subjected to sexual harassment, such Advocate or where she is unable due to physical or emotional trauma suffered due to the incident, then the relative /next friend/co-worker of the aggrieved woman may file a complaint with the SHCRC within a period of 3 months from the date of incident.

  • ii) In case of a series of incidents, complaint may be filed within a period of 3 months from the last incident.

  • iii) The complaint shall be in writing (typed/written) and signed by the aggrieved woman, relative /next friend/co-worker of the aggrieved woman. If unable to write, the complainant shall file a complaint orally, but documented by her witness, duly signed by the complainant.

  • iv) At the time of filing the complaint, the complainant shall submit to the SHCRC, eight copies of the complaint along with supporting documents and names and addresses of the witnesses, if any

  • v) A compliant may be filed at the office of the State Bar Council. Within 2 days of so filing the complaint shall be scrutinised by the Secretary of the SHCRC.

8. Procedure for Inquiry

  • a) At the first meeting, the SHCRC shall hear the Complainant and record her allegations.
  • b) The Complainant may also submit any corroborative or supporting material, oral or documentary, to substantiate her complaint alongwith a list of witnesses if any.
  • c) Thereafter the SHCRC may issue notice to the Respondent along with a copy of the Complaint within seven working days from the date of the complaint.
  • d) The Respondent shall file his reply along with documents if any as also a list of names and addresses of witnesses if any to be produced in support of his case, within ten working days from the date of receipt of the Complaint.
  • e) The SHCRC may before initiating the inquiry, at the request of the aggrieved woman or suo motu take steps to settle the matter between her and the Respondent through conciliation;
  • f) In case of settlement the SHCRC shall record the settlement so arrived at and forward the same to the State Bar Council for approval, as also to take action as specified in the recommendation.
  • g) The parties shall be provided copies of the settlement.
  • h) Where the conciliation/settlement fails or if the aggrieved woman informs the SHCRC that the terms or conditions of the settlement have not been compiled by the Respondent, the SHCRC shall immediately proceed with the inquiry.
  • i) The SHCRC shall prepare and handover a copy of the Statement of Allegations to the Respondent against whom complaint is made and give him an opportunity to submit a written explanation within ten working days of receipt of the same.
  • j) The Complainant shall be provided with a copy of the written explanation submitted by the Respondent.
  • k) If the Complainant or the Respondent desires any witness or witnesses to be called, she or he shall communicate in writing to the SHCRC the names of witness or witnesses whom they propose to call.
  • l) If the Complainant or the Respondent desires to tender any documents by way of evidence before the SHCRC, she/he shall supply original copies of such documents. The Complainant or the Respondent shall affix his/ her signature on the respective documents to certify these to be original copies. If original copies are not in possession of the party propounding the same, the concerned party may produce a copy of such document, attesting the same to be a true copy of the original.
  • m) The SHCRC shall call upon all witnesses mentioned by both the parties.
  • n) The SHCRC shall provide every reasonable opportunity to the Complainant and to the Respondent, for putting forward and defending their respective case.
  • o) The SHCRC shall make an inquiry into the complaint in accordance with the principles of natural justice. Accordingly,
    1. (a) Both parties shall be given reasonable opportunity to be heard along with witnesses and to produce any other relevant document before the SHCRC.
    2. (b) Upon completion of the enquiry, both the parties, to the extent appropriate, will be informed of the decision of the Committee.
  • p) The enquiry into a complaint shall be conducted in such a way as to maintain confidentiality to the extent practicable. It shall include private discussions with the person filing the complaint/respondent and with witnesses.
  • q) If so required, the SHCRC shall ensure that the Complainant gets the assistance of a professional Counsellor.
  • r) The SHCRC shall be empowered to do all that is necessary to ensure a fair hearing of the complaint including all things necessary to ensure that complainant or witnesses are neither victimised nor discriminated against while dealing with a complaint of sexual harassment.
  • s) The SHCRC shall have the discretion to make appropriate interim recommendations during pendency of the inquiry.
  • t) The SHCRC shall have the power to give an exparte decision on the Complaint if the Respondent does not attend two consecutive sessions of the SHCRC inquiry proceeding.
    Provided, no such Exparte decision shall be passed without giving a notice fifteen days in advance to the Respondent.
  • u) All complaints shall be treated as confidential and be heard and finally determined within a period of ninety days of the complaint having been made. A report of the case, findings and recommendatory action (if any) proposed by the SHCRC shall be completed within this time.
  • v) The report of the SHCRC shall be treated as an inquiry report on the basis of which appropriate action may be taken against the Respondent.
  • w) The findings along with recommended action made by the SHCRC shall be forwarded to the State Bar Council for necessary action within 10 days of such recommendation being made.
  • x) In the event, the complaint does not fall under the purview of Sexual Harassment or the complaint does not disclose an offence of Sexual Harassment; the same would be dropped after recording the reasons thereof.

9. Powers of the SHCRC

  • (a) The SHCRC shall be deemed as a Disciplinary Committee under Section 9 of the Advocates Act, 1961 empowered to inquire into complaints under Section 35 of the Advocates act, 1961 and shall exercise all powers as vested in the Disciplinary Committee under the Advocates Act.
  • (b) Civil Procedure Code, 1908 in respect The Sexual Harassment Redressal Committee shall have the powers as are vested in a Civil Court under of the following matters;
    • • Summoning and enforcing the attendance of any person and examining him or her on oath;
    • • Requiring the discovery or production of documents;
      Any other procedural matters incidental to the enquiry process.

10. Composition of the District Sexual Harassment Complaints and Redressal Committee (Internal Complaints Committee)

  1. i. The DSHCRC shall consist of five members including the Chairperson.
  2. ii. The Chairperson shall be a Lady Advocate of considerable seniority and experience in the legal profession practising in the district.
  3. iii. At least three members shall be women including the Chairperson.
  4. iv. One other member excluding the Chairperson shall be a Lady Advocate of eminent standing in the legal profession in the district.
  5. v. One member shall be a male Advocate of eminent standing in the legal profession in the district.
  6. vi. One member should be a representative of an NGO with considerable experience in issues pertaining to women.
  7. vii. The President of the District Bar Association shall be an ex officio member of the DSHCRC.

11. Terms and conditions of office of the Chairperson and members of the DSHCRC

The terms and conditions of office as envisaged in Rules 5(a) to 5(k) of these Rules shall be applicable mutatis mutandis to the Chairperson and members of the DSHCRCs. A quorum of three members is required to be present for the proceedings to take place. The quorum shall include the Chairperson and at least one member of the other two shall be women.


12. Powers and functions of the DSHCRCs

vi) The DSHCRCs shall be vested with the same powers and functions as vested in the SHCRC under Rules 7, 8 and 9 of these Rules. A compliant may be filed in six sets at the office of the District Bar Association. Within 2 days of so filing the complaint shall be scrutinised by the Secretary of the SHCRC.


13. Punishment and penalties

  • 1. Any Advocate found guilty of sexual harassment by the Sexual Harassment Complaints and Redressal Committee, shall be deemed to be guilty of ‘misconduct’ under Section 35 of the Advocates Act, 1961 and shall be liable to punishment as prescribed under Section 35 of the Advocates Act, 1961 as recommended by the Sexual Harassment Redressal Committee.

  • 2. If the Respondent is an employee of the State Bar Council, action shall be initiated as per the disciplinary rules of the employee including termination of employment.

  • 3. In addition to the penalties and punishments prescribed under the Advocates Act, 1961 in the case of an Advocate and in the Service Rules in the case of an employee of the State Bar Council, the following measures may also be recommended by the SHCRC:
    • a. Written apology from the Respondent warning, reprimand, or censure of the Respondent, or recommendation to undergo counseling session or carry out community service.
    • b. Payment of compensation to the aggrieved woman or to her legal heirs.
    • c. In case of non-payment of the compensation amount, the SHCRC may forward the order for recovery of the said sum as arrears of land revenue, to the concerned District Officer.

CHAPTER-V

MISCELLANEOUS

14. Determination of Compensation

  • The SHCRC shall determine the compensation considering the:-

  • (a) the mental trauma, pain, suffering and emotional distress sustained by the aggrieved woman;
  • (b) the loss of career opportunity due to the incident of sexual harassment;
  • (c) medical expenses incurred by the victim for physical or psychiatric treatment;
  • (d) the income and financial status of the Respondent;
  • (e) feasibility of such payment in lump sum or installments;
  • (f) any other relevant factor.

15. Obligations of the State Bar Council

The State Bar Council shall provide all necessary assistance for the purpose of:

  • i) ensuring full, effective and prompt implementation of this policy. It shall be bound by the decisions of the SHCRC and shall implement the same expeditiously within 30 days of the receipt of the SHCRC report.
  • ii) ensuring safe working environment for Lady Advocates at their workplace;
  • iii) displaying at any conspicuous place in the workplace, the penal consequences of sexual harassment as well as the order constituting the internal complaints committee (SHCRC);
  • iv) organizing workshops and awareness programmes at regular intervals for sensitizing the Advocates and employees at the workplace, including employees of the State Bar Council and orientation programmes for the SHCRC members;
  • v) rendering assistance to the aggrieved woman if she chooses to file a complaint in relation to the offence under IPC or any other law for time being in force.
  • vi) treating sexual harassment at workplace as a misconduct under the Advocates Act, 1961 and initiate action for misconduct, if the Respondent is an Advocate;
  • vii) monitoring the timely submission of reports by the Sexual Harassment Redressal Committee.
  • viii) The State Bar Council shall include in its Annual Report the number of cases if any filed before the SHCRC and their result.

16. Third party harassment


  • i) Where sexual harassment occurs as a result of an act or omission by any third party or outsider, i.e., anyone outside the legal fraternity, the State Bar Council will take all steps necessary and reasonable to assist the affected person in terms of support and preventive action.
  • ii) In the event, the conduct complained of amounts to a specific offence under the Indian Penal Code or under any other law in existence, the SHCRC shall, subject to the consent of the complainant, take appropriate action in filing a complaint with the appropriate authority.
  • iii) The State Bar Council shall actively assist and do all that is necessary to ensure the safety of a complainant in the court premises with the assistance of the local Bar Association to discharge any duties/activities to be performed in connection with her work in such premises.

17. False or Malicious complaint

  • a) In case of a false or malicious complaint made by the aggrieved woman or any other person on her behalf or in case the aggrieved woman or any other person has produced any forged or misleading document, the SHCRC may recommend to the State Bar Council to take disciplinary action against the woman or any other, person in accordance with the provisions of the Advocates Act, 1961.
  • b) Where such person is not an Advocate, the State Bar Council may take action in such other manner as may be prescribed by the SHCRC.
  • c) Mere inability to substantiate the complaint or provide adequate proof will not attract action against the Complainant under this Rule.
  • d) The malicious intention on the part of the complainant shall be established after an inquiry before any action is recommended.
  • e) If a witness gives false or misleading evidence or produces any forged or misleading document, the SHCRC may recommend to the employer of the witness to take action against the witness in accordance with the provisions of the service rules applicable to her or him. If the witness is an Advocate, disciplinary action may be initiated under the Advocates Act, 1961.

18. Penalty for breach of confidentiality

  • a) The contents of the complaint, the identity and addresses of the aggrieved woman, respondent and witnesses, any information relating to conciliation and inquiry proceedings, recommendations of the SHCRC and the action taken by the State Bar Council shall not be published, communicated or made known to public, press. However, in the larger interests of public awareness, the SHCRC report and action taken by the State Bar Council may be published without disclosing the identity of the Complainant, Respondent or witnesses.

  • b) Any person contravening Rule 18(a) will be penalized with a sum of Rs.25, 000/- in addition to any other action that may be recommended by the SHCRC. This Rule is also applicable to the members of the State Bar Council.

19. Appeal

  • a) An appeal from the order of the DSHCRC shall be preferred to the SHCRC within 60 days from the date of such order.
  • b) Any Appeal against the order of the SHCRC shall be preferred to the State Bar Council within a period of 60 days of such order.

20. Budget

An annual budget of Rupees 1 lakh (one lakh) shall be allocated by the State Bar Council for activities of the SHCRC. This budget may be used inter alia for trainings and awareness programmes on sexual harassment and related laws, workshops for the Internal Committee and staff, posters, etc.


21. Fees or allowance of Chairperson and members of the Sexual Harassment Redressal Committee

The Chairperson and member of the Sexual Harassment Redressal Committee shall be paid Rupees 1,000 per day for holding the proceedings of the Sexual Harassment Redressal Committee. Also, the travel cost of the journey by III tier Air conditioned train or Air conditioned bus shall be reimbursed.


22.Savings

  • i. The proceedings under these Rules shall be in addition to and shall not preclude any other proceeding initiated by the Complainant under any other law.
  • ii. The provisions of this policy shall not restrict the powers of the State Bar Council or the Complainant to proceed against the alleged offender for any other misconduct or other legal remedies.

23. Annual Report

The SHCRC shall prepare an Annual Report consisting of number of complaints filed in a year, number of complaints disposed off during the year, number of cases pending for more than 90 days, number of workshops and awareness programmes


against sexual harassment carried out and the nature of action taken by the State Bar Council and submit the same to the District Officer. The Annual Report shall be submitted by 31st January every year in respect of the previous calendar year.

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