In compliance with the Supreme Court Judgment and guidelines issued in 1997 to provide for the effective enforcement of the basic human right of gender equality and guarantee against sexual harassment and abuse, more particularly against sexual harassment at work places the University Grants Commission (UGC) has issued circulars since 1998 and insisting the enactment of the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal Act -Sexual Harassment Act in April 2013) to all the universities, advising them to establish a permanent cell /committee and to frame guidelines to combat sexual harassment, violence against women and ragging at the universities and colleges. It has further advised the universities to be proactive by developing a conducive atmosphere on the campus, where the women are respected and they are treated with dignity. As per the guidelines of UGC and the recommendation of the Anna University a Committee against Sexual Harassment/ (ICC) Internal Complaints Committee at Excel Polytechnic College have been established to provide a healthy and congenial atmosphere to the staff and students of the College.
This includes all forms of gender violence, sexual harassment, and discrimination on the basis of sex/gender. This also meets the obligation as mandated by the Supreme Court of India, in its landmark judgment in August 1997 viz., Vishaka& others vs. the State of Rajasthan & others which stated that every instance of sexual harassment is a violation of “Fundamental Rights” under Articles 14, 15, and 21 of the Constitution of India, and amounts to a violation of the “Right to Freedom” under Article 19 (1) (g). This judgment makes it obligatory for every employer and other responsible persons to follow the guide lines laid down by the Court and to evolve a specific policy to combat sexual harassment in the workplace. Thus to ensure the above mentioned human rights, in our college has proactively established the Prevention of Sexual Harassment Cell (POSH) Cell.
According to the Supreme Court, sexual harassment is defined as “unwelcome sexually determined behavior such as”
- Physical contact and making advances.
- A demand or request for sexual favours.
- Sexually oriented remarks.
- Showing pornography.
- Use of electronic media (phone, internet, intranet) for perpetrating any of the above.
- Any other unwelcome physical, verbal, or non-verbal conduct of a sexual nature.
In short, the definition of sexual harassment is broad enough to include all kinds of offensive, hostile, intimidating, humiliating and exploitative language, gestures and conduct.