A fresh set of instructions have been issued by the central government in cases of sexual harasssment. In such cases, during inquiry, the complainant will be allowed three months paid leave or be shifted to another department.
Complaints committees were set up in all ministries and organisations following a Supreme Court directive. These panels, headed by women, are empowered to shift the victim to any other workplace or leave to her. “The leave will not be deducted from her leave account,” it said.
“In case the victim belongs to a senior level, one of same rank from another office will be appointed. To prevent possibility of undue pressure or influence, such committees must involve a third party familiar with the issue,” said the department of personnel and training (DoPT).
The victim is required to file a complaint within three months of the incident and in case of a series of incidents, three months of the last incident, it said. The panel may, however, extend the time limit if it is convinced of the reason preventing the victim from filing a complaint within the stipulated period, said the guidelines.
The panel may recommend deduction from the accused or charged salary or wages such sum considered fit to be paid to the victim or to her legal heirs.
The panel may take action against the complainant, if the allegation is malicious, or false, or has produced any forged or misleading document to support her case. Action would be taken against any witness if such witness has given false evidence.
Provisions have been cited to deal with threats or intimidation. Action can be taken in cases where the government servant/s threatens witnesses from giving evidence against him to prevent him/them from doing so.