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Workshop on Prevention of Sexual Harassment (POSH)
Date: 10th February 2021 | Time: 3:00 to 4:30 p.m.
Platform: Zoom Meetings (Zoom Id- 92700793245)
The Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) of Delhi Metropolitan Education conducted a POSH workshop for the faculty and staff members of Delhi Metropolitan Education and Delhi Technical Campus on 10th February, 2021.
The workshop began with a welcome note to the participants, followed by the introduction of the guest speaker, Dr. Lipika Sharma, Associate Professor, Sharda University. Ma’am is a professional with 20 years of experience spanning academics and practice at Supreme Court of India and Delhi High Court. She is an award winning educator, has represented government ministries and departments as a Legal Advisor and has been engaged as a POSH trainer with various corporates.
The workshop was conducted to discuss key provisions of the Sexual Harassment of Women at Work place (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 and thereby create awareness among the participants. The Act is an extension of the Vishaka Guidelines issued by the Hon’ble Supreme Court in 1997. Dr. Lipika Sharma emphasized the need for gender sensitization in organizations and educational institutions. Based on real life scenarios and examples, she outlined different kinds of unwelcome behaviour or acts constituting sexual harassment at the work place. She gave detailed information about how a victim of sexual harassment at workplace can lodge a complaint. She also discussed about the role of the Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) and the Local Complaints Committee (LCC), their constitution and working. The workshop outlined the responsibilities of both the employer and the employees. The session enlightened the participants on the purview of the act and also sensitised them.
At the end of the session, Hon’ble Mr. Justice Bhanwar Singh, Director General, Delhi Metropolitan Education, addressed the gathering and emphasized on the fact that awareness of sexual harassment at workplace and gender sensitivity should be a part of work culture and shared a rich context for all by examining an old case law relating to the subject and its learnings for one an all.
The session ended with the appreciation of the guest speaker by Prof. Dr. Ravi Kant Swami, Director DME, and his closing remarks on the workshop. This report is prepared by the ICC members, including Ms. Prerna Mohan, B.A.LLB 3rd Year, (Student member, ICC).
Few Snapshots from the workshop:
Orientation Session on Anti Ragging and Anti Bullying Awareness
by Mr Gunjan Singh
Advocate Supreme Court and Litigation Head
Human rights Law Network, Delhi.
The committee on Anti Ragging and Anti Bullying, Delhi Metropolitan Education, organized an Orientation session on awareness against ragging and bullying on Dec 26, 2020 at 2.00 pm. The session organized on a virtual mode was addressed by Mr Gunjan Singh, Advocate Supreme Court and Litigation Head, Human rights Law Network, Delhi.
The aim of the session was to orient the students on issues of ragging and bullying and how if not spoken about and not checked, can ruin both life and career.
While defining ragging, Mr Gunjan Singh dwelled deep into the sociological and psychological causes of Ragging. “Ragging is a problem of power structure and has a sociological relevance”, he said. He focused on the behavioral issue of the problem of ragging. While giving reference to the Aman Kachroo case, he said, “People derive sadistic pleasure while forcing someone to act against his/her wishes.”
While speaking about the legal implications of Ragging, Mr Gunjan cited UGC guidelines on countering ragging in higher education and stressed on the punitive actions against ragging.
The lecture was attended by 224 freshly admitted students of DME Media School, DME Law School and DME Management School.
The lecture was followed by question and answer session wherein questions ranged from behavioral change to awareness drive against ragging.
The session was chaired by Dr Ambrish Saxena, Professor and Dean DME Media School, Dr Susmita Bala, Professor and Head, DME Media School along with faculty members involved in organizing the Orientation session.
The session ended with the Thanks Note from the Ms Krishna Pandey, Convener, Anti Ragging and Anti Bullying Committee and Assistant Professor, DME Media School.
Stress Management Workshop
The Anti-Ragging and Anti – Bullying Committee, DME organised a motivational session with Mr Shivanshu Singh, Vice President Ethicraft club with Chairperson, Miss Pooja Saxena on Oct 21, 2019 at the Nelson Mandel Auditorium in Delhi Metropolitan College, Noida.
The focus of the session was to make students aware about stress as a necessary evil and how it is affecting young and old alike. While defining stress, Mr Shivanshu Singh spoke at length on how stress has become a major cause of rising suicide cases in the country. He spoke about the ‘Principle of Concern’ and ‘Principle of Influence’ as a strategy to combat stress among the youths.
One of the reasons of growing stress was the gap between the reality and unreality. He said that people today live in an unreal world. They dream about life which is unrealistic. He gave interesting anecdotes from Bollywood on unrealistic portrayal of life in Hindi Cinema. “The simple formula to reduce the stress is to be simply being realistic in life,” he advised. Mr Singh also recommended a book Thank You for Being Late, authored by Thomas Friedman on stress and relief.
Ms Pooja Saxena, the Chairperson of the Ethicraft Club also addressed the session. She spoke in detail about various activities undertaken by the Club.
The highlight of the session was the certificate distribution ceremony of more than hundred students from DME who participated in UDGAAR 2019 – an anti addiction campaign. An Iskcon, initiative on anti drug addiction, the movement saw the gathering of around 15,000 students at the same place, pledging against addiction, thus creating a world record.
The session also acknowledged the efforts of students like Raj Singh, Harsh Dixit, Charu Sukreja and Nipun Manocha who were instrumental not only in the promotion of UDGAAR but also were able to gather huge number of students to be a part of anti addiction campaign.
The session was attended by the students of DME Law School and DME Management School.
Following the tradition, the session was inaugurated by lighting the lamp and welcome address by Dr Ravi Kant Swami, Director, DME who spoke briefly on the relevance of the session. The session was also chaired by Prof (Dr) Ambrish Saxena, Dean DME Media School.
The students’ welfare committee strives to create overall satisfying and amenable atmosphere for the students. It facilitates holistic development of the students which is essential for a community life and seeks the inputs from the students for betterment of campus life. This committee acts as interface between the management and students and resolves the grievances reported by students.
With the above in view, following students welfare committee has been hereby constituted for the objectives mentioned hereinafter:
- To promote student welfare
- To make the institute well equipped with basic amenities and proper sanitation facilities to create a healthy and clean campus.
- To groom students as a responsible citizen by involving them in various social activities
- To guide students to prepare them as competent professionals
- To encourage students to participate in different scholastic and co-scholastic activities.
DELHI METROPOLITAN EDUCATION
B-12, Sector 62, Noida, Gautam Budha Nagar (UP)
INTERNAL COMPLAINTS COMMITTEE
Delhi Metropolitan education has zero tolerance policy towards sexual harassment of women at the campus of the college. The Supreme Court of India in Vishakha v. State of Rajasthan, (1997) 7 SCC 323, has also reaffirmed that sexual harassment at work place is a form of discrimination against women. It violates the constitutional right to gender equality. Hon’ble Supreme Court of India had provided guidelines to address this issue pending the enactment of a suitable legislation by the Parliament. Indian Parliament in its wisdom has enacted “the sexual harassment of women at workplace (prevention, prohibition and redressal) Act, 2013 (Act No 14 of 2013).
The directions of Hon’ble Supreme Court and provisions of Act No 14 of 2013, are to be followed in letter and spirits. In exercise of the powers conferred by clause (g) of sub section (1) of section 26 of the University Grants Commission Act, 1956 (Act No. 3 of 1956) read with sub section (1) of section 20 of the said Act, University Grants Commission has made and notified UGC (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal of women employees and students in higher educational institutions) Regulations, 2015. These regulations were notified w.e.f., 2nd May, 2016
In compliance with above mentioned provisions, DME has constituted an internal complaint committee (here-in-after referred to as ICC) as follows:-
(A) Constitution of ICC:- ICC shall have following members:-
- Dr. Isha Jaswal, Associate Professor, Dept. of law, Presiding officer (M-9990430355)
- Dr. N. K. Bahl, Professor of law, Dept. of law, Member (M-7500739002)
- Ms. Navya Jain, Assistant Professor, Department of Business Administration, member, (M-9711835710)
- Smt. Rimsi Sood, (non-teaching member) (M-9560479977)
- Sh. Pawan Kumar, (non-teaching member) (M- 9871993387)
- Smt. Charu Wali Khanna, a representative from a NGO working for the rights of women, member, (M- 9999767180)
- Yogita Motwani B.B.A., II year, section B (student member) (M-9718169641)
- Trupti Panigrahi, B.A., LL.B., IV year (student member) (M-9650397296)
- Smiriti Bajaj, BJMC II year, section A (student member) (M-8860347586)
(B) The ICC will enquire and look after the complaints of sexual harassment received from any student or faculty member in accordance with U. G. C. (Prevention, Prohibition and redressal of sexual harassment of women employees and students in higher educational institutes) Regulations, 2015
(C) The student members of the ICC will participate in the proceedings of ICC only if the complaint is received against another student of the college.
(D) What is sexual harassment?
The definition of sexual harassment in the law includes many actions that are often brushed off as harmless or trivial. If there is an unwanted conduct with sexual undertones, it can be classified as sexual harassment. Any unwelcome physical/verbal/non-verbal conduct of sexual nature, demands/requests of sexual favours, sexually coloured remarks, physical contact/advances or showing pornography is considered as sexual harassment.
- 2 (n) of the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (prevention, prohibition and redressal) Act, 2013 and section 2 (k) of U.G.C. (Prevention, prohibition and redressal of sexual harassment of woman employees and students in higher educational institutions) Regulations, 2015 also defines ‘sexual harassment.’
(E) Who can file a complaint: – Anyone can file a complaint with the college internal complaints committee if the matter pertains to the college. The complainant can also approach the police station in whose jurisdiction the harassment took place.
(F) Jurisdiction: – The College ICC will have jurisdiction over the complaints relating to college premises. However, if the act of sexual harassment takes place outside the college, during a college/university event, or any other place where a person is participating in the capacity of an employee or student, it will be covered by the ICC of the college. ICC will conduct inquiries into sexual harassment complaints from students, faculty members and non-teaching staff, in accordance with UGC (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal of women employees and students in higher educational institutions) Regulations, 2015. The committee will also provide assistance to complainants if they want to file a complaint with the police station concerned.
If any complainant decides to approach the director of the college or any faculty member, the complaint so filed shall be forwarded to the ICC same day without unnecessary delay. All sexual harassment complaints on campus will be inquired into and handled only by the ICC. No other authority shall have jurisdiction to deal with complaints of sexual harassment. There shall be only one ICC in the college for dealing with sexual harassment complaints.
(G) Display of details of ICC on the college site: – One can approach the Presiding officer of ICC or any of the committee members, who will forward the complaint to the presiding officer. The names and contact numbers of presiding officer of ICC, and members are loaded/ displayed prominently on the college website and on the notice board of the college.
(H) Limitation: – The ICC will take cognizance of a complaint if it is made within three months of the incident or within three months of the last incident in a series of incidents. The time limit can be extended by another three months if the committee is satisfied that circumstances prevented the person from filing a complaint.
(I) Register of complaints: – ICC of the college has maintain a complaint register in which all the complaints of sexual harassment shall be entered. The complaints shall be serially numbered, year wise in this register. This register shall have columns like serial number, date of receipt of the complaint, name and address of the complainant along with his/her mobile number and e-mail address, name of the person against whom complaint is filed, date of closing of the inquiry and the result of the inquiry.
(J) Procedure of inquiry by ICC: –
The complainant as well as the person against whom the complaint is made, both can bring witnesses and produce evidence. The inquiry committee will ask for complainant to testify and provide any evidence available such as phone call, logs, texts etc. But since sexual harassment usually takes place without presence of witnesses, it does not have to be proved beyond doubt to be able to charge the perpetrator/respondent.
Whenever a complaint is received by the committee, the ICC will send its copy to the person against whom the complaint is made within seven days. The respondent against whom the complaint is filed will be required to file his/her reply along with details of witnesses of his defence within 10 days. The entire inquiry process will be completed within a period of 90 days from the date of receipt of the complaint.
The committee will ensure that the complainant is not discriminated against or victimized in any manner. Fair opportunity of hearing shall be afforded to the respondent against whom complaint is received. The complainant shall be given opportunity to produce his/her evidence first. The respondent will be at liberty to ask any questions to the witnesses produced by the complainant. Both the parties will have the liberty of filing documentary evidence before the hearing starts before the ICC. All the copies of evidence recorded against the respondent will be provided to him/her on his costs. For this purpose, he/she will have to move in writing before ICC.
(K) Submission of inquiry report: – An inquiry report with observations and recommendations, if any, will be sent to the executive authority, i.e., Director of the college and both the parties within 10 days of the completion of inquiry.
(L) Final decision: – The executive authority, i.e., Director of the college will take necessary action, as deemed fit within 30 days of the submission of the report by ICC unless an appeal against the finding is filed within that time by either party.
(M) Mediation and Conciliation: – Efforts for mediation and conciliation will be tried by the ICC. The mediation and conciliation process will be facilitated by the ICC so to arrive at a settlement between the two parties. The settlement shall not have monetary tones. The conflict resolution to the full satisfaction of the aggrieved party, wherever possible, will be done by the ICC before resorting to punitive intervention in accordance with UGC (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal of women employees and students in higher educational institutions) Regulations, 2015. ICC will make every endeavor to bring the parties to amicable settlement.
(N) Interim redressal mechanism: – During the pendency of the inquiry, ICC can recommend a transfer of the complainant or respondent to different departments to mitigate the situation. In case a student files a complaint against a teacher, the respondent can be restrained from evaluating work/tests/examination papers of the complainant. If the committee apprehends any direct threat to the atmosphere or discipline of the college, the respondent can be debarred from entering the college campus.
(O) Confidentiality: -All proceedings before the ICC will be kept confidential. In order to maintain confidentiality and to ensure safety and privacy of the complainant, the ICC members will not divulge the identity of the victim or the nature of the complaint to anyone.
(P) Punishment: – For student respondents, sexual harassment will be treated as violation of disciplinary rules. The punishments which can be imposed are, they can be subjected to rustication, expulsion or suspension from the college for a reasonable period. Other punishments include mandatory community service or withholding certain privileges such as scholarships or access to library. The employees, if found guilty will be treated as guilty of misconduct and appropriate action, including, but not limited to, dismissal of the employee can be ordered at the discretion of the ICC. The higher education institution is also responsible for booking and initiating proceedings as required by law against those guilty of sexual harassment.
(Q) Right of Appeal:- An appeal against the findings or recommendations of ICC may be filed by either party before the executive authority i.e., Director of the college within a period of thirty days from the date of recommendations of the ICC.
If the executive authority, i.e., Director decides not to act as per recommendations of the ICC, then it shall record written reasons for the same to be conveyed to ICC and both the parties to the proceedings. If on the other hand, it is decided to act as per recommendations of ICC then a show cause notice, answerable within 10 days shall be served on the party against whom action is decided to be taken. The executive authority shall proceed only after considering the reply or hearing the aggrieved person.
(R) False complaints: – According to Section 11 of the 2015 UGC regulations, action will be taken against those who file “frivolous complaints.” If the ICC concludes and is of the opinion that the allegations launched by the complainant were false 0or were filed with a malicious intention and were made knowing that they were untrue, the complainant can be suitably punished. Not providing adequate proof by the complainant will not come under this category since “malicious intention” of the complainant shall not be established without an inquiry.
Issued by Delhi Metropolitan Education through its Director General.
Dated: February, 2018
Justice Bhanwar Singh
Former judge, Allahabad High Court
Delhi Metropolitan Education, Noida