Majority National sports federations don’t have sexual harassment panel: Basics Explained

The Government’s MC Mary Kom-headed panel that looked into allegations of sexual harassment by some of the nation’s top wrestlers against Wrestling Federation of India chief BJP MP Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, red-flagged this as a “major finding”: there was no Internal Complaints Committee (ICC), as mandated by the 2013 Prevention of Sexual Harassment (PoSH) Act.

The ICC was designed to be the first port of call for any grievance under the PoSH Act, a key element needed to create a safe workplace environment for women.

An investigation by The Indian Express has revealed As many as 16 of the 30 national sports federations — of disciplines in which India has participated in the 2018 Asian Games, Tokyo Olympics in 2021 and last year’s Commonwealth Games — do not meet this mandatory compliance. And this is when there has been a record uptick in women’s participation in sports.




In Vishaka vs. State of Rajasthan (1997)4 , the Supreme Court of India created legally binding guidelines basing it on the right to equality and dignity accorded under the Indian Constitution as well as by the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW).


All workplaces in India are mandated by law to provide a safe and secure working environment free from sexual harassment for all women. “No woman shall be subjected to sexual harassment at any workplace.” ; through compliance with the three elements: Prohibition ,Prevention and Redress

The Posh  Act recognizes the right of every woman to a safe and secure workplace environment irrespective of her age or employment/work status; whether in the capacity of regular, temporary, adhoc, or daily wages basis is protected under the Act. The Act also covers a woman, who is working in a dwelling place or house.

The POSH Act applies to both the organized and unorganized sectors in India. It inter alia, applies to government bodies, private and public sector organizations, non-governmental organizations, organizations carrying out commercial, vocational, educational, entertainment, industrial, financial activities, hospitals and nursing homes, educational institutes, sports institutions and stadiums used for training individuals and also applies to a dwelling place or a house.

Sexual Harassment” includes anyone or more of the following unwelcome acts or behaviour (whether directly or by implication), namely: 1. Physical contact or advances; 2. A demand or request for sexual favours; 3. Making sexually coloured remarks; 4. Showing pornography; 5. Any other unwelcome physical, verbal or non-verbal conduct of a sexual nature

The Act provides a civil remedy to women and is in addition to other laws that are currently in force.

The Act provides for two kinds of complaints mechanisms: Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) and Local Complaints Committee (LCC). All Complaints Committees must have 50 per cent representation of women. ICC or LCC members will hold their position not exceeding three years from the date of their nomination or appointment.

  1. Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) Every employer is obliged to constitute an ICC through a written order. The ICC will be composed of the following members:

2) Local Complaints Committee (LCC) The District Officer will constitute an LCC in every district so as to enable women in the unorganised sector or small establishments to work in an environment free of sexual harassment. The LCC will receive complaints: 1. From women working in an organisation having less than 10 workers; 2. When the complaint is against the employer himself; 3. From domestic workers.

The POSH Act stipulates that the IC and LC shall, while inquiring into a complaint of workplace sexual harassment, have the same powers as vested in a civil court under the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 when trying a suit in respect of: i. summoning and enforcing the attendance of any person and examining him on oath; ii. requiring the discovery and production of documents; and iii. any other matter which may be prescribed.


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