The Kerala High Court Advocates Association (KHCAA) will consider the setting up of an Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) in accordance with the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition, and Redressal) Act, 2013 (POSH Act).
The resolution proposed by Advocate Boby M Sekhar and 117 others sheds light on the fact that the number of female lawyers and the contribution of women in the legal field has increased substantially over years. But women face the same hurdles as in any other work which includes sexual harassment and abuse. The POSH Act mandates the constitution of an ICC at the institutional level for prevention, prohibition, and redressal of sexual harassment at the workplace. The ICC has the power to initiate settlements between the parties through conciliation proceedings and if not settled, to initiate an inquiry into the matter.
It was also contended that KHCAA was formed to protect the interest of the legal fraternity, but no effective steps have been taken to date to form a permanent ICC that could address the grievances of women lawyers. It was also proposed that KHCAA may pass the resolutions in the following manner-
- Resolve to formulate and constitute an Internal Committee as contemplated under POSH Act to address the complaint of sexual harassment against women members and other aggrieved women in its precincts.
- Resolve that a comprehensive mechanism be formulated for inquiry into allegations of sexual harassment and to take appropriate disciplinary action against the members who are found guilty; and
- Resolve and authorize the Executive Committee of KHCAA to make necessary changes and amendments in the Rules and Regulations, 1971 of the Kerala High Court Advocates Association for the effective implementation of the different provisions of the POSH Act.