The cases of sexual offense or harassment at work place seldom get reported in both private as well as public sector. While a private sector employee can approach court of tribunal if they’re not satisfied with the verdict of the in-house committee, a central government employee can’t do that anymore.
Maximum that can be done in this scenario is an appeal can be laid before government if the committee’s verdict doesn’t satisfy the complainant. Centre has decided that if the internal committee constituted to take notice of such cases doesn’t recommend any action against the accused official, the complainant can file an appeal with disciplinary authority for the reconsideration of the case
An appeal can also be made if the internal committee decided the penalise the complainant for lodging a false complaint. If sources are to be believed, the government has apparently taken this decision to bring down the number of external litigation where its employees are involved in such cases.
According to The Sexual Harassment of Women at Work Place (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013, a person aggrieved with recommendations by the internal committee may prefer an appeal before a court or a tribunal in accordance with service rules applicable to the said person. But it added that where no such service rules exist, the person aggrieved may prefer an appeal “in such a manner as may be prescribed”. The government now seems to have taken advantage of these provisions to stop the cases going to court.
“All ministries/departments/offices are requested to bring these guidelines to the notice of all disciplinary authorities under their control,” says the August 2 order issued by the Centre to all ministries.