Monday, 7 November 2022



                                                         Government of India
                                   Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pension
                                   Department of Personnel & Training
                                   Establishment Division

In the case of Vishaka and Ors Vs State of Rajasthan and Ors (JT 1997 (7) SC 384), the Hon’ble Supreme Court had laid down the guidelines and norms to be observed to prevent sexual harassment of working women. In pursuance to the pronouncement of this judgement, Department of Personnel and Training took the following steps:

  • (i) Guidelines/ Norms of the Hon’ble Supreme Court were circulated by Department of Personnel & Training vide OM No. 11013/10/97-Estt.(A) dated 13.02.1998 for strict compliance by the Ministries/ Departments.
  • (ii) Amendments in Central Civil Services (Conduct) Rules, 1964 were also carried out by inserting the Rule 3-C declaring Sexual Harassment of Working Women as a misconduct, vide Notification No. 11013/10/97- Estt.(A) dated 13.02.1998 published in Gazette of India as G.S.R. 49 dated 07.03.1998
  • (iii) Subsequently, Central Civil Services (Classification, Control & Appeal) Rules, 1965 were also amended by inserting a provision below sub-rule 2 of Rule 14 in connection with treatment of the Complaint Committee as Inquiring Authority and to follow the procedure as laid down in these Rules to hold inquiry into the complaints of Sexual Harassment. This was notified vide Notification No. 11012/5/2001 -Estt. A dated 01.07.2004 published in Gazette of India vide G.S.R. No. 225 dated 10.07.2004
  1. Later on, the ‘Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013’ {SHWW (PPR) Act} was promulgated on 22.04.2013. The ‘Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Rules, 2013’ were notified on 09.12.2013. The Act and the Rules framed thereunder provide a redressal mechanism for handling cases of sexual harassment of women at workplace.
  2. Thus, the provisions relating to handling cases of sexual harassment of women at workplace are scattered across SHWW (PPR) Act, Central Civil Services (Conduct) Rules, 1964, Central Civil Services (Classification, Control and Appeal) Rules, 1965, etc. In addition, a number ofexecutive instructions covering different aspects of this issue have been issued from time to time. Now, with a view to facilitate the Ministries/ Departments and other stake holders in proper implementation of these provisions, a need has been felt to consolidate these provisions and place the same in the public domain for easy access as and when required. Accordingly, the relevant provisions of the Act/ Rules/ executive instructions have been compiled as under:

(A) DEFINITION OF “SEXUAL HARASSMENT” AND “WORKPLACE” Section 2(n) and 2(o) of the SHWW (PPR) Actdefines “Sexual Harassment” and “Workplace” respectively. The same have been incorporated through an amendment in the CCS (Conduct) Rules, 1964 as under:

“Rule 3C – Prohibition of sexual harassment of working women

(1) No Government servant shall indulge in any act of sexual harassment of any woman at any work place.

(2) Every Government servant who is incharge of a work place shall take appropriate steps to prevent sexual harassment to any woman at such work place.

Explanation – 1 For the purpose of this rule,

(a) “sexual harassment” includes any one or more of the following acts or behaviour, (whether directly or by implication), namely:

  • (i) physical contact and advances; or
  • (ii) demand or request for sexual favours; or
  • (iii) sexually coloured remarks; or
  • (iv) showing any pornography; or
  • (v) any other unwelcome physical, verbal, non-verbal conduct of a sexual nature.

(b) The following circumstances, among other circumstances, if it occurs or is present in relation to or connected with any act or behaviour of sexual harassment may amount to sexual harassment: –

  • (i) implied or explicit promise of preferential treatment in employment;
  • or
  • (ii) implied or explicit threat of detrimental treatment in employment; or
  • (iii) implied or explicit threat about her present or future employment status; or
  • (iv) interference with her work or creating an intimidating or offensive or hostile work environment for her; or
  • (v) humiliating treatment likely to affect her health or safety.

(c) “workplace” includes, –

  • (i) any department, organisation, undertaking, establishment, enterprise, institution, office, branch or unit which is established, owned, controlled or wholly or substantially financed by funds provided directly or indirectly by the Central Government;
  • (ii) hospitals or nursing homes;
  • (iii) any sports institute, stadium, sports complex or competition or games venue, whether residential or not used for training, sports or other activities relating thereto;
  • (iv) any place visited by the employee arising out of or during the course of employment including transportation provided by the employer for undertaking such journey;
  • (v) a dwelling place or a house.”

(Rule 3-C of the CCS (Conduct) Rules, 1964)


  • Complaints Committees have been set up in all Ministries/ Department and organizations under them in pursuance to the judgement of the Hon’ble Supreme Court in the Vishakha case. As per Section 4(1) of the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 (“the Act”), the Internal Complaints Committee (referred to as “Complaints Committee” hereafter) is to be set up at every workplace. As per Section 4(2), this will be headed by a woman and at least half of its members should be women. In case a woman officer of sufficiently senior level is not available in a particular office, an officer from another office may be so appointed. To prevent the possibility of any undue pressure or influence from senior levels, such Complaints Committees should involve a third party, either an NGO or some other body which is familiar with the issue of sexual harassment.

[Para 1 of OM No. 11013/2/2014 -Estt.(A-III) dated 16.07.2015]

Section 4 of the SHWW (PPR) Act-

“4. Constitution of Internal Complaints Committee. (1) Every employer of a workplace shall, by an order in writing, constitute a Committee to be known as the “Internal Complaints Committee”:

Provided that where the offices or administrative units of the workplace are located at different places or divisional or sub-divisional level, the Internal Committee shall be constituted at all administrative units or offices

(2) The Internal Committees shall consist of the following members to be nominated by the employer, namely:

  • (a) Presiding Officer who shall be a woman employed at a senior level at workplace from amongst the employees: 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 subsection(1): 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 organisation;
  • (b) not less than two Members from amongst employees preferably committed to the cause of women or who have had experience in social work or have legal knowledge;
  • (c) one member from amongst non-governmental organisations or associations committed to the cause of women or a person familiar with the issues relating to sexual harassment:

(3) The Presiding Officer and every Member of the Internal Committee shall hold office for such period, not exceeding three years, from the date of their nomination as may be specified by the employer.

(4) The Member appointed from amongst the non-governmental organisations or associations shall be paid such fees or allowances for holding the proceedings of the Internal Committee, by the employer,
as may be prescribed.

(5) Where the Presiding Officer or any Member of the Internal Committee,

  • (a) contravenes the provisions of section 16; or
  • (b) has been convicted for an offence or an inquiry into an offence under any law for the time being in force is pending against him; or
  • (c) he has been found guilty in any disciplinary proceedings or a disciplinary proceeding is pending against him; or
  • (d) has so abused his position as to render his continuance in office prejudicial to the public interest, such Presiding Officer or Member, as the case may be, shall be removed from the Committee and the vacancy so created or any casual vacancy shall be filled by fresh nomination in accordance with the provisions of this section.”

[Section 4 of the SHWW (PPR) Act]


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