Definite conclusion must on Sexual Harassment At workplaces: Delhi HC dictates
 Source : News Bharati English  Date : 21-Feb-2017

New Delhi, February 21: The Delhi High Court directs the Internal Complaints Committee ICC constituted under the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013, must give a exact conclusion regarding the guilt of the person involved in the incident.Justice Valmiki Mehta was hearing a petition filed by Ashok Kumar Singh against the report of Internal Complaints Committee ICC of Dayal Singh Evening College on account of complaints against him.

The petition questioned the report given by Internal Complaint Committee on two grounds. The first is that the report give by the committee only gives a prima facie conclusion of the complaints which are to be proved against the petitioner and a on the basis of it a definite conclusion is required under the Section 13(3) of the Act. The second is the petitioner was not allowed to lead evidence in support of his defense. Hence the question arises here is on what basis the report is drawn by the ICC and for all such reasons the inquiry reports are bad, violative of principles of natural justice which have to be invalidated.

The bench after considering the reports reached the following findings:

  1. ICC holds ‘prima facie’ i.e the conclusions are not final but only prima facie conclusions.
  2. There is no final conclusion or a definitive conclusion of guilt being found of the petitioner for what he is charged for.

The court observed that Section 13(1) of the Act uses the expression ‘findings’ and sub-section (3) of the Act uses the expressions ‘conclusion’ and ‘has been proved’.

Hence the findings of the ICC must give exact or specific conclusion and should report the facts alleged in the complaint that have been proved against the guilty person, being the petitioner in the present case. Considering the reports in the present case along with findings a definitive conclusion was mandatory to prove the guilt of the petitioner for being indicted. Here no definitive conclusion is found of guilt of the petitioner nor it is found that ICC reports has proved the facts as stated in complaints against petitioner.

Justice Mehta said that the operative portions of the reports, therefore, being in violation of sub- section (3) of Section 13 of the Act are liable to be set aside, and accordingly, set aside. The Court said that “though a fresh report will have to be given by the ICC, but ICC is at complete liberty to rely upon and arrive at the same conclusions in terms of reasoning and discussion given in reports dated 30.6.2015 and 12.2.2016, if the ICC so wants to do so.

Following is the judgement given in detailed manner: