Sexual harassment has come to be widely condemned as a form of human rights violation, an infringement on life and liberty and a grave form of gender-based discrimination. Such behaviour is an affront to dignity, gender equality, and fundamental rights.
Sexual harassment is contrary to anti-discrimination provisions in the Constitution of India: Article 15: “Prohibition of discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth” and Article 19(1) (g): Right to Freedom which upholds a woman’s right “to practice any profession, or to carry on any occupation, trade or business”.
Sexual Harassment is an offence under The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 No. 14 of 2013. Section 3(1): No woman shall be subjected to sexual harassment at any workplace.” Section 19 Every employer shall- (a): provide a safe working environment at the workplace which shall include safety from the persons coming into contact at the workplace. Section 4(1): Every employer of a workplace shall, by an order in writing, constitute a Committee to be known as the “Internal Complaints Committee”.
The Supreme Court of India, in a landmark judgment in August 1997 (Vishaka & others vs. the State of Rajasthan & others) 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). The Supreme Court further reiterated that sexual harassment “is a violation of the fundamental right to gender equality and the right to life and liberty”. Another Supreme Court Judgment in January 1999 (Apparel Export Promotion Council vs. Chopra) has stated that sexually harassing behaviour “needs to be eliminated as there is no compromise on such violations”.
Educational institutions are bound by the same Act (Section 2(o)”workplace” includes- . . (ii) any private sector organisation or a private venture, undertaking, enterprise, institution, establishment, society, trust, non-governmental organisation, unit or service provider carrying on commercial, professional, vocational, educational…. distribution or service.”) Following this, O.P. Jindal Global University (JGU) is committed to uphold the Constitutional mandate ensuring the above mentioned human rights of all those who fall within its jurisdiction. It is with this objective that these Rules have been framed.
Objectives and Scope of the Rules on Gender Sensitisation against Sexual Harassment.
These Rules reiterate the commitment of JGU to creating and maintaining a community in which students, teachers, researchers, faculty members and non-teaching staff can work together in an environment free of all forms of sexual harassment.
In framing the rules and procedures laid down in these Rules, the spirit of The Sexual Harassment of Women At Workplace Act 2013, and the Supreme Court judgments mentioned in the background section have been followed; however, the rules and procedures cover a wider spectrum of sexual harassment and deal with issues in consonance with the requirements of an academic institution.
These Rules and Procedures apply to all students, academic staff, faculty members, and non-teaching staff on the active rolls of JGU, the Officers of JGU, the members of the Authorities and Committees of JGU as well as to service providers and outsiders who may be within the territory of JGU at the time of commission of the act/behaviour coming under the purview of these Rules.
These Rules would not only apply inside the campus but also on off-campus official duty (workshops, field work, group holidays/excursions organized by JGU, interviews/meetings with outside people and any other activity organized by JGU outside the campus including the period of traveling for such activity). In particular, these rules and procedures laid down shall be applicable to all complaints of sexual harassment made:
By a student against a member of the academic or non-teaching staff or a co-student or the Officers of JGU, or the members of the Authorities and Committees of JGU; or by a member of the academic or non-teaching staff or the Officers of JGU, or the members of the Authorities and Committees of JGU against a student or another member of the academic or non-teaching staff; in either case, irrespective of whether sexual harassment is alleged to have taken place within or outside the campus.
By a service provider or an outsider against a student or a member of the academic or non-teaching staff or the Officers of JGU, or the members of the Authorities and Committees of JGU or by a student or a member of the academic or non-teaching staff or the Officers of JGU, or the members of the Authorities and Committees of JGU against an outsider or a service provider, if the sexual harassment is alleged to have taken place within the campus.
In order to implement these Rules, a Committee on Gender Sensitisation against Sexual Harassment (COGSASH) shall be appointed whose composition and mandate will be as described below.