NCW seeks to ensure that coaching institutes comply with the POSH Act.

  • The National Commission for Women (NCW) has asked all states to ensure that the sexual harassment at work law (POSH Act, 2013) is strictly enforced by coaching centers and educational institutes.

Why in the news?

  • NCW is concerned about reports of sexual harassment at coaching facilities.
  • It seeks to issue directives to all coaching institutes in order to ensure that effective steps are taken to prevent sexual harassment of female students.


  • In 2013, the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition, and Redressal) Act became law.
  • It defined sexual harassment, outlined the procedures for filing a complaint and conducting an investigation, and specified the appropriate action.
  • The Vishaka Guidelines, which were already in place, were expanded.

What exactly are Vishakha Guidelines?

  • The Supreme Court established the Vishakha guidelines in a 1997 decision. This was in a case brought by women’s rights organizations, one of which was Vishakha.
  • She had prevented the marriage of a one-year-old girl in 1992, prompting the alleged gangrape as an act of retaliation.

Guidelines and the law

  • The legally binding Vishakha guidelines defined sexual harassment and imposed three key obligations on institutions:
  • Prohibition
  • Prevention
  • Redress
  • The Supreme Court ordered that a Complaints Committee be formed to investigate allegations of sexual harassment of women in the workplace.

The POSH Act broadened these guidelines:

  • It required employers to form an Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) at each office or branch with ten or more employees.
  • It lay down procedures and defined various aspects of sexual harassment, including the aggrieved victim, who could be a woman “of any age whether employed or not”, who “alleges to have been subjected to any act of sexual harassment”.
  • This meant that the Act protected the rights of all women working or visiting any work in any capacity.

Definition of Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment, according to the 2013 law, includes “any one or more” of the following “unwelcome acts or behavior” committed directly or indirectly:

  • Advancement and physical contact
  • A request or demand for sexual favors
  • Remarks of a sexual nature
  • Displaying pornography
  • Any other unwanted sexual physical, verbal, or nonverbal conduct.

The Ministry of Women and Child Development has published a Handbook on Sexual Harassment of Women in the Workplace, which contains more detailed examples of workplace sexual harassment behavior. These are, in general:

  • Sexually suggestive remarks or innuendos; serious or repeated offensive remarks; inappropriate questions or remarks about a person’s sex life
  • Threats, intimidation, or blackmail in relation to sexual favors; also, threats, intimidation, or retaliation against an employee who speaks up about these Unwelcome social invitations with sexual overtones, commonly interpreted as flirting Unwelcome sexual advances.

Unwelcome behavior

  • According to the Handbook, “unwelcome behavior” occurs when the victim feels bad or powerless; it causes anger/sadness or low self-esteem.
  • It adds unwelcome behavior is one which is “illegal, demeaning, invading, one-sided and power based”.
And get notified everytime we publish a new blog post.