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Move industrial court in sexual harassment case, Bombay HC tells woman | India News

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MUMBAI: In a complaint of sexual harassment at the workplace, the Bombay high court has directed a woman to file an appeal before the industrial court in Mumbai against a March 2020 POSH committee order dismissing her allegations against an executive she used to report to, in a large corporate. In March, for the first time, the state had notified the industrial courts as an appellate body under the Prevention of Sexual Harassment at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act (POSH), 2013, for those not satisfied with recommendations of internal committees.
The HC bench in a July 8 decision, said the relevance of this notification issued in the industrial, energy and labour departments, is the industrial court would be the appellate authority under POSH Act and the woman can avail remedy by filing an appeal before it, against the internal committee (IC) report and order.
Under the POSH Act, a complaint is first assessed by an in-house or local mechanism — a panel that also has a member from an NGO. The woman approached HC last year with a grievance that since the in-house panel informed her “no action was required” on her complaint alleging sexual harassment, thereby dismissing it, she had nowhere to turn to.
Her counsel Mihir Desai said there was no appellate body set up or notified by the state under the POSH Act or rules and hence she was constrained to approach the HC against the company to quash the IC’s report and order. She also questioned her subsequent “illegal termination” in June 2020.
The company opposed her petition and also questioned its maintainability.
At a hearing on March 11, the state had said the POSH Act provides for appeals against the IC report. The HC had directed the state to give details of whether such an appellate authority was set up. On July 8, the state informed the HC of its March 31 notification.
It made the industrial court in Mumbai the appellate authority in this case.



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