Prevention of Sexual Harassment (POSH) Policy

Kalpavriksh is committed to work in and foster an environment free from harassment in which everyone is treated with respect and dignity. This policy is applicable to sexual harassment reported by any individual while working with Kalpavriksh on a project and while on the office premises, travelling on Kalpavriksh related work, or at Kalpavriksh events.

Legal Provision

This policy is framed as per Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act 2013 (SHWW) and the rules notified under the said Act.


The SHWW 2013 limits the scope of the policy to sexual harassment of women only. This policy on the other hand while being based on SHWW 2013, goes beyond the law to be applicable for preventive and responsive action to cases of sexual harassment, regardless of gender, under various relevant legislations.

Defining Sexual Harassment for the purpose of this policy

As defined by Section 2(n) of the SHWW 2013, ‘Sexual harassment includes any one or more of the following unwelcome acts or behaviour (whether directly or by implication):

  • Physical contact and advances;
  • A demand or request for sexual favours;
  • Making sexually coloured remarks (and additionally through any medium of communication);
  • Showing pornography;
  • Any other unwelcome physical, verbal or non-verbal conduct of sexual nature;’

It further includes the following actions if they occur in relation to any act or behaviour of sexual harassment (Section 3(2)):

  • Implied or explicit promise of preferential treatment in employment;
  • Implied or explicit threat of detrimental treatment in employment;
  • Implied or explicit threat about present or future employment status;
  • Interference with work or creating an intimidating or offensive or hostile work environment;
  • Humiliating treatment likely to affect health or safety

Internal Complaints Committee

Kalpavriksh has constituted an internal complaints committee as required by Section 4 of the Act. Information regarding the Committee will be visible through posters in Kalpavriksh office and its website. Any changes in the committee/s will be recorded and formally communicated to all concerned.

Preventive Action

  • Interns/ Volunteers from within and outside India will be oriented about this policy, the committee, and its scope and functioning.
  • Information will be available in English, Hindi and regional language wherever relevant (e.g. Marathi in Pune).
  • Internal Complaints Committee will meet quarterly. If required they will have a meeting with the staff on a one to one basis or as a group.
  • Once a year, all members and staff will meet for an orientation on this policy and the issue.
  • In a regular meeting of the staff there will be space given to discuss gender issues.

Complaint Mechanism

  • Any aggrieved person (within the scope of Kalpavriksh’s policy) who has faced sexual harassment can make oral complaint followed by a written complaint duly signed by the complainant to any of the committee members.
  • Whether or not an oral complaint is made, a written complaint, duly signed by the complainant must be submitted to the committee.
  • Emails to any of the committee members will also be considered as a preliminary complaint followed by a written complaint that is duly signed by the complainant.
  • The complaint should be made within 90 days of the incident. If there are a series of incidents, the complaint will be within 90 days of the last incident.
  • If for any reason there has been delay beyond 90 days, the committee will condone delay if reasonable grounds are provided and recorded.
  • In every case the committee will record the testimony of the complainant.
  • If the aggrieved person is incapacitated, complaint could be filed by another person.

Response Mechanism

  • All reports of sexual harassment will be handled with discretion and will be promptly and thoroughly investigated; this can include interviews of those involved as well as witnesses.
  • The committee will meet the complainant and hear the complaint in person.
  • The committee will communicate to the person(s) against whom the complaint has been made so that he/ she has a fair chance of representation.
  • A minimum of three members will be present during the inquiry, necessarily including the Presiding Officer and external member. If the Presiding officer is not available, then charge will be handed over to another member, however presence of external member is necessary. All actions of the committee (even other than enquiry) will require this quorum of three people.
  • If required an interim order or interim recommendation can be made by the committee.
  • Depending on the nature of the complaint the committee will decide on the course of action which will include warnings, notice, counselling or any other legal action.
  • After hearing both the parties if required the committee members may have a joint meeting with both the parties.
  • The committee will complete its enquiry at the most in three months’ time. Report of the enquiry will be submitted to the Secretary within 10 days of completion of enquiry. The Secretary will keep the full Governing Body (Core Group) informed in consultation with ICC without disclosing the identity of victim. If the ICC or Secretary feel necessary in a particular case, further details could be shared with full Governing Body.
  • The whole process will be documented. Copy will be given to both parties.
  • Both parties will be given an opportunity for cross-examination. They can submit questions to committee and committee will record response of both.
  • The decision of the committee will be communicated to all concerned parties in writing, while ensuring confidentiality is ensured as per legal requirements.
  • The committee will facilitate in taking legal recourse wherever necessary.
  • The aggrieved person is free to exercise/activate other provisions of law. ICC will also simultaneously apply/facilitate application of other laws beyond SHWW 2013 wherever relevant.
  • Any person aggrieved by the recommendations made by the committee can prefer an appeal to the appellate authority under the industrial employment (standing orders) act.
  • The committee will prepare an annual report listing the number of complaints received, disposed of, number of cases pending, number of workshops and orientation meetings organised on the issue and nature of actions taken by Kalpavriksh or district officer. This report should be submitted to the
  • Governing Body of Kalpavriksh and the district officer.
  • The formation of the committee/s should be done in a democratic manner in a general body meeting.


[1] As updated till Annual General Body Meeting October 2015. Some minor language corrections have been done in July 2016 and November 2016.