Sexual Harassment is an unwelcome behaviour of sexual nature. Harassment can include “sexual harassment” or unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favours, and other verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature. It can be physical, verbal and written that tends to create a hostile or offensive work environment.

The Supreme Court of India defined Sexual Harassment as any unwelcome sexually determined behaviour (whether directly or by implication) such as

  1. Physical contact and advances,
  2. A demand or request for sexual favours,
  3. Sexually coloured remarks,
  4. Showing pornography,
  5. Any other unwelcome physical, verbal or non-verbal conduct of sexual nature.

Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace as a Problem:

Sexual Harassment is one of the biggest problems our women are facing today in different sectors of life. Sexual Harassment at work is an extension of violence in everyday life and is discriminatory, exploitative, thriving in the atmosphere of threat, terror and reprisal. The victims fear to report the same to the higher officials or the concerned authorities. They fear to file a complaint against such offenders who does such heinous acts. The fear is due to the fear of boss, fear of guilt in the society that they might have to face, fear of being thrown out of the job or being demoted, fear that it will jeopardize their career as in it will put a blot on their resume and would render them un-hireable.

Sexual harassment includes many things:

  1. Actual or attempted rape or sexual assault.
  2. Unwanted deliberate touching, leaning over, cornering, or pinching.
  3. Unwanted sexual teasing, jokes, remarks, or questions.
  4. Whistling at someone.
  5. Kissing sounds, howling, and smacking lips.
  6. Touching an employee's clothing, hair, or body
  7. Touching or rubbing oneself sexually around another person.

NCESS - Internal Complaints Committee

NCESS has constituted an Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) headed by a senior-level woman employee
(View Office Order No. NCESS/P&GA/1236(i)).

Whom to contact:

 1   Dr. K. Maya   Chairperson/ Scientist F & Head, BgG  9496100295   maya[dot]rethu[at]ncess[dot]gov[dot]in 
 2   Dr. Resmi E. A   Member/ Scientist D & Head ASG  9995824612   resmi[dot]ea[at]ncess[dot]gov[dot]in 
 3   Smt. Reshma K   Member/ Scientific Assistant Grade B, Library  9495036402   reshma[dot]k[at]ncess[dot]gov[dot]in 
 4   Smt. Seeja Vijayan   Member / Junior Executive, F&A Section  9446444746   seeja[dot]gopal[at]ncess[dot]gov[dot]in 
 5   Adv. (Dr.) Anitha G. S  Member (External) / Accredited Mediator
 The Kerala State Legal Services Authority (KeLSA)
 6   Dr. K. Sreelash   Member Convener/ Scientist D, HyG  8903032944   k[dot]sreelash[at]ncess[dot]gov[dot]in 

Procedure to lodge/file a complaint:

Complaints regarding Sexual Harassment against women can be made either in paper form or by sending e-mail to icc[dot]ncess[at]gmail[dot]com.

The Act stipulates that aggrieved woman can make written complaint of sexual harassment at workplace to the ICC or to the LCC (in case a complaint is against the employer), within a period of three months from the date of the incident and in case of a series of incidents, within a period of three months from the date of last incident.

As per the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Rules, 2013, in case the aggrieved woman is unable to make a complaint on account of her physical incapacity, a complaint may be filed inter alia by her relative or friend or her co-worker or an officer of the National Commission for Woman or State Women's Commission or any person who has knowledge of the incident, with the written consent of the aggrieved woman.

Ministry of Women & Child Development launched an online complaint management system titled Sexual Harassment Electronic-Box (SHe-Box) on 24th July, 2017 for registering complaints related to Sexual Harassment at the workplace. The SHe-Box is an initiative to provide a platform to the women working or visiting any office of Central Government (Central Ministries, Departments, Public Sector Undertakings, Autonomous Bodies and Institutions etc.) to file complaints related to Sexual Harassment at the workplace under the Sexual Harassment of Women at workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013.

Once a complaint is submitted to She-Box, it will be directly sent to the Internal Complaint Committee (ICC) of the concerned Ministry/ Department/ PSU/ Autonomous Body, etc. having jurisdiction to inquire into the complaint. The SHe-Box also provides an opportunity for both the complainant and nodal administrative authority to monitor the progress of inquiry conducted by the ICCs. The complainant can ask for a transfer (for herself or the respondent) / 3 months leave or other relief during inquiry period. The inquiry should be completed within a period of 90 days from the day of complaint. Non-compliance is punishable.

CLICK HERE - SHe-Box - Online Complaint Management System (

Debunking The Myths and Misconception about Sexual Harassment

  1. Myth: Only women are harassed and only men are sexual harassers.
    Fact: Anyone, irrespective of gender can be the victim of harassment or a harasser.
  2. Myth: People invite sexual harassment through their behaviour or dress.
    Fact: Sexual harassment is not a motivated act, but an expression of hostility and/or power focused on differences in gender or sexual orientation. People do not invite sexual harassment.
  3. Myth: If ignored, the problem of sexual harassment and stalking will go away.
    Fact: Generally, the harasser is persistent and does not stop on his/her own. The harasser often has more targets. If ignored by the harassed, the harasser may interpret such behaviour as consent or motivation.
  4. Myth: Sexual Harassment is a rare occurrence.
    Fact: The rate of sexual harassment is increasing throughout the world day by day. It is not a rare occurrence at all. Such incidents keep taking place every day. Few victims take strict against the harasser while a few incidents go unnoticed or are not complained about.

False Complaints and Consequences

According to the Act, if a complaint is made with malicious intent which is substantiated then it shall attract repercussions under Section 14 or if there is any false complaint backed with forged document then strict action will be taken according to the service rules. If it is found that a person has filed a false complaint, then the ICC will award the same punishment to the person who has filed the wrong complaint as per Rule 10 of the Rules.

View Handbook on the Prevention of Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act 2013.