Policy on Sexual Harassment
With regard to the Supreme Court Judgement and guidelines issued in 1997 to provide for the effective enforcement of the basic human right of gender equality and guarantee against sexual harassment and abuse, more particularly against sexual harassment at work places, the University Grants Commission (UGC) has issued circulars since 1998, to all the universities, advising them to establish a permanent cell and a committee; to develop guidelines to combat sexual harassment, violence against women and ragging at the universities and colleges. Keeping the above guidelines in view IIBS college has constituted a Committee against Sexual Harassment.
IIBS College has committed itself to provide a congenial and conducive atmosphere in which students, teachers and non-teaching staff can work together in an environment free of violence, harassment, exploitation, and intimidation. This includes all forms of gender violence, sexual harassment, and discrimination on the basis of gender. Every member is expected to be aware of the commitment to the right to freedom of expression and association; it strongly supports gender equality and opposes any form of gender discrimination and violence.
The Supreme Court of India, in a landmark judgment in August 1997 (Vishaka & others vs. the State of Rajasthan & others) stated that every instance of sexual harassment is a violation of “Fundamental Rights” under Articles 14, 15, and 21 of the Constitution of India, and amounts to a violation of the “Right to Freedom” under Article 19 (1)(g). Another Supreme Court Judgment in January 1999 (Apparel Export Promotion Council vs. Chopra) has stated that sexually harassing behavior “needs to be eliminated as there is no compromise on such violations”. The Supreme Court further reiterated that sexual harassment “is a violation of the fundamental right to gender equality and the right to life and liberty”.
Based on these, the Bangalore University, to which IIBS college is affiliated, made it mandatory for the affiliated and constituent colleges to adhere to the following from the year 2016:
- An anti-sexual harassment cell to be made functional with at least two senior women faculty on the committee
- An anti-sexual harassment policy to be adopted and publicized
- An affidavit to be submitted by each college declaring that such a policy is adopted and the anti-sexual harassment cell is operative.
The Supreme Court judgment of 1997 makes it obligatory for every employer and other responsible persons to follow the guidelines laid down by the Court and to evolve a specific policy to combat sexual harassment in the workplace. Educational institutions affiliated to Bangalore University are bound by the same directive. Following this, IIBS College Bangalore, being committed to uphold the Constitutional mandate ensuring the above mentioned human rights, adopted the following policy.
Declaration of Policy
IIBS College Bangalore, shall value the dignity of every individual, enhance the development of its human resources, guarantee full respect for human rights, ensures the full enforcement of “Fundamental Rights” under articles 14, 15, 19(1) (g) and 21 of the Constitution of India, and uphold the dignity of workers, employees, applicants for employment, students or those undergoing training, instruction or education. Towards this end, all forms of sexual harassment in the employment, education or training environment are herby declared unlawful.
Objectives of the Policy
- To fulfil the directive of the Supreme Court, as per UGC directives and the Bangalore University in respect of implementing a policy against sexual harassment in the institution.
- To evolve a mechanism for the prevention and redressal of sexual harassment cases and other acts of gender-based violence in the institution.
- To ensure the implementation of the policy in letter and spirit through proper reporting of the complaints and their follow-up procedures.
- To provide an environment free of gender-based discrimination.
- To ensure equal access to all facilities and participation in activities of the college
- To create a secure physical and social environment which will deter acts of sexual harassment
- To promote a social and psychological environment that will raise awareness about sexual harassment in its various forms.
Definition of Sexual Harassment
For this purpose, sexual harassment includes such unwelcome sexually determined behaviour (whether directly or by implication) as:
- Physical contact and advances;
- A demand or request for sexual favours;
- Sexually coloured remarks;
- Showing pornography;
- Any other unwelcome physical, verbal or non-verbal conduct of sexual nature
Where any of these acts is committed in circumstances where-under the victim of such conduct has a reasonable apprehension that in relation to the victim’s employment or enrolment in the institution whether she is drawing salary, or honorarium or otherwise, such conduct can be humiliating and may constitute a health and safety problem. It is discriminatory for instance when the woman has reasonable grounds to believe that her objection would disadvantage her in connection with her employment or work or studentship including recruiting or promotion or academics when it creates a hostile work environment. Adverse consequences might be visited if the victim does not consent to the conduct in question or raises any objection thereto.
The rules and regulations outlined in this policy shall be applicable to all complaints of sexual harassment made:
- By a member of the institution against any other member irrespective of whether the harassment is alleged to have taken place within or outside the campus.
- By an outsider against a member of the college or by a member of the college against an outsider if the sexual harassment is alleged to have taken place within the campus.
- By a member of the college against an outsider if the sexual harassment is alleged to have taken place outside the campus. In such cases, the Committee shall recommend that the college authorities initiate action by making a complaint to the appropriate authority. Further, the committee will actively assist and provide available resources to the complainant in pursuing the complaint.
Composition of the Anti–Sexual Harassment Committee.
- A Presiding Officer who shall be a woman faculty member employed at a senior level at the educational institution;
- Not less than two teaching employees and two non-teaching employees, preferably committed to the cause of women or who have had experience in social work or have legal knowledge.
- Not less than three students, who shall be enrolled at the undergraduate, masters, and research scholar levels respectively.
- One member from amongst non-governmental organizations or associations committed to the cause of women or a person familiar with the issues relating to sexual harassment. Provided that at least one-half of the total Members so nominated shall be women.
The members of the committee for the academic year 2021- 22
The Committee consists of members of the faculty, administration, service staff and students’ representatives. The members of the committee for the current academic year are:
Role and responsibility of Anti-sexual harassment committee:
- To ensure provision of a work and educational environment that is free from sexual harassment (Sexual harassment is defined by law from the perspective of the person who feels they have been harassed and it occurs if the person who feels they have been harassed feels offended, humiliated, or intimidated by the conduct and it is reasonable, in all the circumstances that the person who feels they have been harassed would feel offended, humiliated or intimidated).
- To take all reasonable steps (active and preventive in nature) to prevent the harassment occurring; To address any oral/written complaint about unwelcome sexual advances, unsolicited acts of physical intimacy, unwelcome requests for sexual favors or other unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature. Unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature includes oral or written statements of a sexual nature to a person, or in a person's presence.
- Obtain high-level support from the Principal & Registrar for implementing a comprehensive strategy:
- Providing information to all staff and students about what constitutes sexual harassment and about their responsibility not to sexually harass other staff and students
- Providing information and training to managers, supervisors, and staff conducting teaching and learning activities on meeting their responsibilities in relation to maintaining a work and study environment free from sexual harassment.
- Develop a written policy which prohibits sexual harassment. The Institution shall have a Sexual Harassment Policy. The policy outlines the Institute’s key commitments and legal responsibilities and provides a definition of sexual harassment and behaviors that are not acceptable.
- Regularly distribute and promote the policy at all levels of the organization; Ensure that managers and supervisors discuss and reinforce the policy at staff meetings; Provide the policy and other relevant information on sexual harassment to new staff as a standard part of induction; Periodically review the policy to ensure it is operating effectively and contains up to date information.
- Display anti-sexual harassment posters on notice boards in common work areas and distribute relevant brochures; Conduct regular awareness-raising sessions for all staff on sexual harassment issues.
- Ensure that complaints processes:
- are clearly documented;
- are explained to all employees;
- offer both informal and formal options for resolution;
- address complaints in a manner which is fair, timely and confidential;
- are based on the principles of natural justice;
- provide clear guidance on internal investigation procedures and record keeping;
- Give an undertaking that no employee will be victimized or disadvantaged for making a complaint.