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All about filing the Annual Report under the PoSH Act

The Sexual Harassment (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 (hereinafter referred to as the PoSH Act) along with the Sexual Harassment (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Rules, 2013 (hereinafter referred to as the PoSH Rules) imposes certain obligations on the employer of an organization with 10 or more employees, which includes the submission of an annual compliance report.

Section 21 of the PoSH Act makes it mandatory for the Internal Committee (IC) of the organization to prepare and submit an annual report to the employer and the district officer.

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The Objective of filing Annual Report under the PoSH Act

It is significant that organizations file their annual compliance report in a legal and timely manner. The aim of filing the annual report is to demonstrate that an organization is PoSH compliant and is taking necessary steps to eliminate sexual harassment at its workplace. It also ensures that a grievance redressal mechanism has been set up by the organization in case an incident takes place.

Contents of the Annual Report under the PoSH Act

Rule 14 of the PoSH Rules states that the following details must be included in the annual report:

  1. number of complaints of sexual harassment received by the IC in the year;

  2. number of complaints disposed off during the year after due investigation;

  3. number of cases pending for more than ninety days, if any;

  4. number of workshops or awareness program that the organization conducted for awareness about and prevention of sexual harassment at the workplace; and

  5. nature of action taken by the employer against each complaint in which the Respondent was found guilty.

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Consequences of Non-compliance under the PoSH Act

Initial non-compliance with the PoSH Act’s annual compliance report filing mandate may lead to a fine of up to Rs. 50,000/-. Subsequent and repeated non-compliance may result in serious consequences, including the termination of the organization’s license to operate or registration, as well as prohibition from engaging in other activities.

Confidentiality of the Annual Report under the PoSH Act

The following details must not be disclosed in the annual report:

  1. Details that can help identify parties to a complaint, such as their names and other details;

  2. Details of any conciliation process or any inquiry that has taken place at the time of investigation and has been recorded; and

  3. A copy of the IC's recommendations made in relation to a complaint.

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Difference between the Annual Report under the PoSH Act and the Director’s Report

  1. Annual Report under the PoSH Act submitted to the DC Office: The ICC prepares this report and submits it to the District Officer.

  2. Company’s Annual Report submitted to the Registrar of Companies (RoC): In response to a request from the Ministry of Women and Child Welfare, the Ministry of Corporate Affairs revised the Companies (Accounts) Rules, 2014, through a notification dated July 31, 2018. This amendment makes it mandatory for a corporation to mention in its Director’s Report that it has followed the regulations governing the formation of an IC. This is a disclosure made by a company in its Director’s Report, which is filed with the company’s Registrar.

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FAQs related to the filing of the Annual Report under the PoSH Act

1. Is submission of the PoSH Annual Report mandatory?
Yes, every organization with 10 or more employees needs to comply with the PoSH Act and must therefore file the annual report under the PoSH Act.

2. Who prepares the Annual Report?
The IC of the organization, constituted under Section 4 of the PoSH Act, is required to prepare the annual report.

3. How many copies of the Report must be prepared?
The IC is required to prepare at least 3 copies of the annual report for the following purposes:

  • One, for its own record; and

  • Two, both of which are submitted to the employer.

4. Who forwards the Annual Report to the DC Office?
The employer retains one copy of the annual report received from the IC with themselves and forwards the other to the DC Office.

5. Is there a last date for submitting the Annual Report?
While the PoSH Act and the PoSH Rules are both silent on a specific date for filing the annual report, it is often recommended that the reports must be filed by January 31 of every year.

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