Internal Committee for Redress of Sexual Harassment Complaints at TISS (Rules, Composition and Procedures)
The Internal Committee is constituted by TISS under section 4 of the University Grants Commission (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal of Sexual Harassment of Women employees and Students in Higher Educational Institutions) Regulations, 2015. The Committee has to function as a Grievance Redressal Mechanism to address all complaints of Sexual Harassment by women students, employees and all other staff in the campus.
What constitutes Sexual Harassment?
Sexual harassment is about any unwelcome sexually determined behavior (whether directly or by implication) such as physical contact and advances, demand or request for sexual favours, sexually coloured remarks, showing pornography, or any other unwelcome physical verbal or non-verbal conduct of a sexual nature.
Sexual harassment is a form of violence against women and a human rights violation. It is a violation of fundamental rights as laid down in the Indian Constitution. Such behaviour transgresses common dignity and gender equality and denies equal opportunity.
Sexual harassment creates an intimidating, hostile, offensive and therefore stressful working environment.
The first principle of sexual harassment is that it is against the consent of the person concerned.
This may occur in public with open and even boastful sexist attitudes, comments and behaviour, or only in private, when the aggressor is alone with the victim.
The 2013 Act has built on the Vishaka guidelines by adding that the following acts may also amount to sexual harassment:
creating an intimidating, offensive or hostile learning environment
presence or occurrence of circumstances of implied or explicit promise of preferential treatment in employment;
threat of detrimental treatment in employment;
threat about present or future employment;
interference with work or creating an intimidating or offensive or hostile work environment; or humiliating treatment likely to affect the woman employee’s/ student’s health or safety.
Sexual harassment is an assertion of power. Though all women and some men can be the targets of sexual harassment, long standing experience of ICCs makes it evident that vulnerability can be compounded, by region, caste, class, sexual orientation, minority identity and by being differently abled.
What Constitutes the Workplace?
The meaning of campus is extended as a “workplace” and according to Section 2 (c) of [University Grants Commission (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal of Sexual Harassment of Women employees and Students in Higher Educational Institutions) Regulations, 2015, “Campus” means the location or the land on which a Higher Educational Institution and its related institutional facilities like libraries, laboratories, lecture halls, residences, halls, toilets, student centres, hostels, dining halls, stadiums, parking areas, parks-like settings and other amenities like health centres, canteens, bank counters, etc., are situated. Also includes extended campus and covers within its scope places visited as a student of the HEI including transportation provided for the purpose of commuting to and from the institution, the locations outside the institution on field trips, internships, study tours, excursions, short term placements, places used for camps, cultural festivals, college festivals, conferences, sports meets and such other activities where a person is participating in the capacity of an employee or a student of the HEI.
Composition of IC as given in UGC Regulations 2015 Section 4:
A Presiding Officer who shall be a woman faculty member employed at a senior level at the educational institution, nominated by the Executive Authority;
Provided that in case a senior level woman employee is not available, the Presiding Officer shall be nominated from other offices or administrative units of the workplace referred to in sub-section 2(o);
Provided further that in case the other offices or administrative units of the workplace do not have a senior level woman employee, the Presiding Officer shall be nominated from any other workplace of the same employer or other department or organization;
Two faculty members and two non-teaching employees, preferably committed to the cause of women or who have had experience in social work or have legal knowledge, nominated by the Executive Authority;
Three students, if the matter involves students, who shall be enrolled at theundergraduate, masters, and research scholar levels respectively, elected through transparent democratic procedure;
One member from amongst non-government organisations or associations committed to the cause of women or a person familiar with the issues relating to sexual harassment, nominated by the Executive Authority.
At least one-half of the total members of the IC shall be women.
Persons in senior administrative positions in the HEI, such as Vice- Chancellor, Pro Vice-Chancellors, Rectors, Registrar, Deans, Heads of Departments, etc., shall not be members of IC in order to ensure autonomy of its functioning. Note: At TISS Chairpersons of Independent Centers who are at par with Deans will also not be included in the IC.
The term of office of the members of the ICC shall be for a period of three years. HEIs may also employ a system whereby one -third of the members of the ICC may change every year.
The Member appointed from amongst the non-governmental organizations or associations shall be paid such fees or allowances for holding the proceedings of the Internal Committee, by the Executive Authority as may be prescribed.
Responsibilities of the IC (Section 5):
Ensure that a fair dispute/ complaint and dialogue procedure is carried forward which does not undermine the complainant’s rights and also minimize the need for purely punitive actions which may cause further resentment, alienation and violence
Protect the identity of the complainant and also provide safe spaces like relaxation of attendance or transfer of employee to another department till the pendency of the hearing
Ensure protection of complainant and witnesses for prevention of discrimination and intimidation in any manner
Ensure prohibition of retaliation and adverse action against the protected individual (complainant)
Provide aid to the student or employee if she wants to file a complaint to the police.
Procedure for the IC:
Once a complainant files a written complaint the IC needs to undertake the following procedure:
The Presiding Officer should meet the complainant to explain the procedure of the IC and also ask for any witnesses and evidence that she may want to bring for the hearing.
The IC day, date and timing are decided based on the convenience of the external member and the complainant.
Set up the Committee in the following manner:
If the complaint is by a staff against a faculty, then the IC has to have representative members from the staff, faculty (women and one
SC/ST) and the external member
If the complaint is by student against a staff member then the IC has to include student representatives
If the complaint is of a faculty against the staff IC composition will be similar to (a)
At no point of time the male members will be more than women members in the IC. It’s imperative that at least half of the members are women.
Share the copy of the complaint with the respondent, inform the day, date, time & venue of the hearing, give time of 10 days to prepare his defense and also ask him to submit documents, names and contact details of witnesses.
The respondent should be asked to come for the IC hearing after having met the complainant, examined all evidence provided by her and heard her witnesses.
All narratives by complainants, respondents and witnesses during the process should be recorded and signatures taken on that day itself hence each IC needs to ensure that all required equipment is available during the proceedingsmeritmumbai.org
A final report of the entire proceedings should be prepared after the hearing and recommendations finalized with all members of the IC. The final report should have signatures of all members.
The copy of the recommendations should be sent to both the complainant and the respondent for their information. Both parties can appeal (Sec 8 (3)) to the Higher authorities in case they are unhappy with the recommendations.
The final report is to be submitted by the IC to the Director in Mumbai campus and to Deputy Directors in the off-campuses of TISS
In case the Director or Deputy Director wants to reduce the actions recommended they would need to send a formal letter to the IC members, complainant and respondent explaining the reasons for the same (Sec 8 (6)).
The final action taken notification shall be shared with both the complainant and the respondent officially either through email or by post by the Higher Authority i.e., the Director’s Office in case of Mumbai campus and Deputy Directors in case of the off-campuses.
Members of the Internal Committee, Mumbai Campus
Prof. Ritambhara Hebbar Presiding Officer
Dr. Anjali Dave
Dr. Trupti Panchal
Dr. Narendra Kakade
Mr. Biswaranjan Tripura
Dr. Sangita Thosar
Ms. Shivaranjani Kulkarni
Ms. Rajashree Pawar
Dr. Shamim Modi
Ms. Evon Gangurde – Member Secretary
Prof Geeta Balakrishnan
Dr Padma Deosthali
Ms Amrita De
Members of the Internal Committee, Tuljapur Campus
Dr. Neelam Yadava
Mr. Mahesh Shinde
Dr. Kalpana Dixit
Dr. Sai Thakur
Dr. Dipak Abnave
Ms. Trupti Ratnaparkhi
Ms. Priti Mendhe
Dr. Anar Salunke
Members of the Internal Committee, Hyderabad Campus
Dr. Rekha Pappu
Ms. Swetha Shenoy
Dr. Nilanjana Ray
Dr. K.P. Rajesh
Ms. Kameshwari Jandhyala
Members of the Internal Committee, Guwahati Campus