The recent judgement of the Supreme Court in the case of Aureliano Fernandes vs State of Goa has brought the spotlight back on gaps in implementation of POSH.
In this case, the Appellant challenged his termination arguing that principles of natural justice had been violated by the Internal Committee in conducting the inquiry. The SC upheld the Appellant’s challenge and remanded the matter back to the Internal Committee for a fresh inquiry in accordance with principles of natural justice.
The judgement also observed the following:
- The objectives of the POSH Act are centered on proper constitution of Internal Committees. Yet, many Internal Committees are improperly constituted without following strict requirements of the POSH Act.
- Even where properly constituted, Internal Committees are poorly equipped to handle complaints and do not understand or follow basic principles of natural justice when handling complaints.
- Parties involved in a complaint are not aware of the complaint procedures
These observations prompted the SC to issue directions to the government to step up checks for compliance in constitution of the Internal Committees and training provided to Internal Committees and employees about rights, duties, procedures and principles of natural justice in relation to complaints. The SC has asked the central and state/UT governments to file their responses on action taken within eight weeks.
Regardless of whether the governments actually initiate checks, this case highlights the damage that can be done to organizations by improper compliance, training and complaint handling of POSH. Re-inquiries involve huge human costs (loss of morale of complainants) and financial costs (back-wages to respondent, loss of productivity, etc.).
ashure has tried to address these challenges through its secure, content-rich, technology platform which helps ensure compliance with the POSH Act (in letter and spirit), online simulated case training (anytime, anywhere) for Internal Committees, a complaint-handling workflow that ensures adherence to the principles of natural justice and legal procedures, and reassures the parties involved with transparency on their matter, plus much more. Learn more at www.ashure.in or write to firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange a demo/ trial of the ashure platform.