26 April 2023 8:44 AM GMT
The Madras High Court has directed the Kalakshetra Foundation to frame a policy against sexual harassment and to constitute a Complaints Committee with respect to its schools, both under the CBSE and the State Board. Justice Dhandapani gave the directions on a plea filed by a group of students from Rukmini Devi College of Fine Arts, functioning under Kalakshetra Foundation, who...
The Madras High Court has directed the Kalakshetra Foundation to frame a policy against sexual harassment and to constitute a Complaints Committee with respect to its schools, both under the CBSE and the State Board.
Justice Dhandapani gave the directions on a plea filed by a group of students from Rukmini Devi College of Fine Arts, functioning under Kalakshetra Foundation, who had approached the court for the formulation of proper safety policies and redressal mechanisms in the college.
The court also directed the foundation to submit the profiles of the members that are presently part of the Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) constituted by the foundation on April 3.
"The 1st respondent is directed to frame the policy and constitute the Complaints Committee with respect of the schools run by it, both CBSE & State Board, keeping in mind the provisions of the Prevention of Sexual Harassment Act and also the other enactments, including the University Grants Commission (Prevention, Prohibition & Redressal of Sexual Harassment of Women Employees and Students in Higher Educational Institutions) Regulations, 2015, the various guidelines of the Central and State Governments, the guidelines of the National Commission for Protection of Children and also the guidelines issued by the Central Board of Secondary Education, in a comprehensive manner and care shall be taken to include the Parents and Teachers in the Complaints Committee, which would be constituted in furtherance of the said policy framed."
The students approached the court after various instances of sexual harassment at the institute came to light. Among other reliefs, the students had also sought for reconstituting the ICC with student and parent representatives.
Additional Solicitor General, ARL Sundaresan, however, had submitted that an ICC cannot be constituted in a comprehensive manner to cover all institutions functioning under the foundation as the schools (both CBSE and State) would not be amenable to the jurisdiction of the POSH Act. It was also submitted that different policies will be formulated for the schools.
The court also took on record the report submitted by the State Women’s Commission which had conducted the initial inquiry into the allegations of sexual harassment at the campus.
The court further added that the interim protection that was granted to the students against any coercive action by the management for talking about the assault or participating in the Dharna, would also be applicable to the faculty members who came in support of the students.
The matter has been posted to June 7 for further hearing.
Case Title: XYZ and others v. Kalakshetra Foundation and others
Citation: 2023 LiveLaw (Mad) 126