Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs) and Answers on Sexual Harassment of Women at Working Place

F.No. 43012/5/2012-Estt.A
Department of Personnel and Training Establishment (A-III)

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs) and Answers on Sexual Harrassment of Women at Working Place

SI. No.
there is any Rule for prohibition of sexual harassment of working woman?
Yes. Rule 3-C of CCS (Conduct) Rules, 1964 prohibits sexual
harassment of any woman at her workplace.
What are the specific provisions of the Rule?
(1) No
Government servant shall indulge in any act of sexual harassment of any woman
at her work place. (2) Every Government servant who is incharge of a workplace
shall take appropriate steps to prevent sexual harassment to any woman at
such workplace. Explanation.- For the purpose of this Rule, ‘sexual harassment’
includes such unwelcomed sexually determined behaviour whether directly or
otherwise, as — (a) physical contact and advances; (b) demand or request for
sexual favours ; (c) sexually coloured remarks; (d) showing any pornography;
or (e) any other unwelcome physical, verbal or non-verbal conduct of a sexual
What are the guidelines and norms to be maintained to prevent
and deal with cases of sexual harassment in working place?
Hon’ble Supreme Court has laid down guidelines and norms in this matter in
the case of Vishakha
& Ors.
Vs. State of Rajasthan
& Ors.
(Jt. 1997(7) SC 384).
These guidelines and norms to be observed to
prevent sexual harassment of working woman have been circulated to all Ministries
and Departments vide DOPT’s O.M. No. 11013/10/1997-Estt.A dated 13.2.1998. A
copy of these guidelines are available on the website on the Ministry at
As per above guidelines, there should be a Complaints Committee, a
special Counsellor or other support service including maintenance of confidentiality.
(DOPT’s O.M. dated 21.7.2009 and 7.8.2009)
of Complaints Committee.
Complaints Committee should be headed by a woman and not less than half of
its Members should be women. Further, to prevent the possibility of any undue
pressure or influence from senior levels, such Complaints Committee should
involve a third party, either NGO or other body who is familiar with the issue
of sexual harassment. (enclosure of DOPT’s O.M. dated 13th Feb., 1998)
What will be the rank of the Chairperson of the
should be headed by an officer sufficiently higher in rank so as to lend credibility
to the investigations. (DOPT’s O.M. 11013/10/97-EstA dated 13.7.1999)
What about complaints against senior level officers?
inquiring into complaints made against officers of the level of Secretary,
Addl Secretary and equivalent level of Govt. of India, a separate Complaints
Committee has been set up by the Cabinet Secretariat with the approval of the
Prime Minister. (DOPT’s O.M. No. 11013/3/2009-Estt. A dated 2nd Feb., 2009,
Cab. Secretariat’s O.M. 501/28/1/2008-CA.V dated 26.9.2008)
Whether separate Complaints Committee should be set up
for each complaint of sexual harassment case?
No. It
is necessary to have in place at all times an effective mechanism for dealing
with cases of sexual harassment and to create awareness in this regard. There
should be Standing Committee in each organisation for inquiring into any such
complaints. The Complaints Committee must make an Annual Report to the
Government Department concerned of the complaints and action taken by them. It
would also be desirable of the Committees to meet once in a quarter even if
there is no live case and review preparedness to fulfil all requirements of
the Vishakha judgment in the Department / Ministry / Organisation concerned.
s O.M. dated 21.7.2009, 7.8.2009 and 3rd August,
8. .
What is the status of the report of the Complaints Committee?
In its
Order dated 26.04.2004 in the Writ Petition No. 173- 177/1999 in the case of
Medha Kotwal Lele and Ors. Vs. U01 & Ors. the Hon’ble Supreme Court has
directed that’ the Reports of the Complaints Committee shall be deemed an Inquiry
Report under the CCS Rules. Thereafter, the Disciplinary Authority will act
on the report in accordance with the Rules’. Sub-Rule (2) of Rule 14 of CCS
(CCA) Rules, 1965 has accordingly been amended to provide that the Complaints
Committee shall be deemed to be the Inquiry Authority for the purpose of these
Rules by the Notification No. 11012/5/2001-EstA dated 01.07.2004 (GSR 225
dated 10th July, 2004). In view of the said amendment made to the CCS(CCA) Rules,
the instructions contained in DOPT’s O.M. dated 12th Dec., 2002 stands modified
and the report of the Complaints Committee should be treated as an inquiry report
and not a preliminary report.
O.M. No.11013/3/2009-Estt. (A) Dated the 21st July, 2009] [DOPT OM dated
12.12.2002 as amended by O.M. dated 4.8. 2005]
Is there any Charge Sheet in such cases?
The Complaint forwarded by the DA to the Complaint Committee
is treated as Charge Sheet. Specific Charge Sheet may also be made on the
basis of complaints.
Is the procedure
prescribed in the CCS(CCA) Rule 14 followed in such enquiries?
Complaint Committee is the competent authority in such cases to decide the
procedure. However, since the report of the committee is to be treated as the
enquiry report under the CCS(CCA) rules and the Disciplinary Authority is to
take action on that report as per the same rules (as mentioned at point no 8 above)
the procedure prescribed in rule 14 of the CCS(CCA) Rules are to be followed
as far as practicable. 
[DOP&T O.M. No. 11013/3/2009-Esft. (A)
dated the 3rd August, 2009]
Whether copy of the report should be given to the
Charged Officer
Yes, may be given.
Whether any special leave or transfer is to be granted
to the complainant if such request is made by her?
As per the existing Leave Rules, there is no special
type of leaves that can be granted to the aggrieved woman. However, she can
be granted any kind of regular leave that is admissible to her under the
provisions of CCS (Leave) Rules, 1972 (as amended from time to time). The
victims of sexual harassment should have the option to seek transfer of the
perpetrator or their own transfer. (DOPT’s O.M. No 11013/10/97-Estt.A dated
13th Feb., 1998)
Whether any amendment to the existing Rules /
instructions is being
made on this issue?
The existing Rules / Instructions /
guidelines /
norms /
mechanisms have
been formulated on the basis of
direction of the Supreme Court in the case
of Vishakha & Others
vs. State of Rajasthan and Medha Kotwal Lele & Ors vs. U01 & Ors. as mentioned above.
However, Ministry of Women
Development have introduced a Comprehensive Bill in the Parliament on the
issue of sexual harassment at working place — Government, Semi-Government,
Private Sector as well as unorganized sectors. After passing of the Bill in
the Parliament detailed Rules vis-a-vis that Act may be formulated by the Government.

This has the approval of
Joint Secretary (Establishment)

Source/Order: http://persmin.gov.in/DOPT/RTICorner/ProactiveDisclosure/FAQ_Harrassment.pdf