Prevention of Sexual Harassment in workplace (POSH) Act

#GS 02 Governance, Gender Equality

For Mains


  • POSH Act was evolved from the Vishakha Guidelines given by Supreme Court to prevent sexual harassment in work place.
  • Vishakha Guidelines were inspired by various international conventions such as the Beijing Declaration at the Fourth World Conference on Women, and the Covenant on Elimination of Discrimination against Women.
  • POSH Act was enacted to give a wider scope to the guidelines and to prescribe measures of grievance redressal in case of noncompliance.
  • As per the Act, a woman who reports instances of sexual harassment at work has the right to pursue civil as well as criminal remedies.

Provisions under POSH Act

Internal Complaints Committee:
  • As per Section 4 of the POSH Act, every office or branch of an organization employing ten or more employees must have an internal committee dedicated to hearing and resolving sexual harassment complaints
Local Committee:
  • Local Complaints Committee must be formed at the district level for the purpose of handling complaints of sexual harassment in the workplace when there is no internal mechanism in place under Section 5 of the POSH Act.
Procedure of complaint:
  • Under Section 9 of the POSH Act, an aggrieved woman may file a complaint of sexual harassment at work within three months of the date of the incident and, in the case of repeated incidents, within three months of the most recent incident.
  • Moreover, as per Rule 6(i) of the POSH Rules, it is provided that if an aggrieved woman is physically or mentally incapable or dies, or otherwise is unable to lodge a complaint, her legal heir or her relative or friend, or her co-worker, or an officer of the National Commission for Women or State Women’s Commission, or any person who has knowledge of the incident, with the written consent of the aggrieved woman, may do so.
  • As per Section 10 of the POSH Act, an Internal Committee/Local Committee can attempt to resolve a complaint between the parties, at the request of the aggrieved woman, through conciliation by reaching an amicable settlement.

Other provisions

  • Along with these provisions there are other provisions for providing punishment to the offender as well as those who try to cover up the offence.
  • It also provides for anonymity to the victim by prohibiting the dissemination of the contents of the complaint, as well as the names and addresses of the complainant, respondent, witnesses, conciliation and inquiry proceedings, recommendations of the above-mentioned committees, and the consequences of the same to the public, press, and media in any manner whatsoever.
  • However, the results of an investigation into the allegations will be made public ithout disclosing any of the victim’s names, addresses, identities, or any other particulars that could identify them. This is done to prevent the future occurrences of such events.

Source “Slow progress to creating a safe workplace for women