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Today’s important articles/news in various newspapers (10th October)

Dear aspirants, following are the links of various articles taken from various newspapers. Click the link to read further. To get notification, follow the blog. Thank you

1.  Salvaging a strategic partnership

  • India-Russia cooperation is based on the solid foundations of the 1971 Treaty of Peace, Friendship and Cooperation between the Republic of India and the USSR, 1993 Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation between the Republic of India and the Russian Federation, 2000 Declaration on Strategic Partnership between the Republic of India and the Russian Federation and 2010 Joint Statement elevating the Partnership to a Special and Privileged Strategic Partnership.
  • Cooperation between India and Russia spans across the whole gamut of sectors and rests on the fundamental pillars of political and strategic cooperation, military and security cooperation, cooperation in the spheres of economy, energy, industry, science and technology, and cultural and humanitarian cooperation.

The News:

  • Prime Minister of the Republic of India H.E. Mr. Narendra Modi and President of the Russian Federation H.E. Mr. Vladimir V. Putin met for the 19th edition of the Annual Bilateral Summit in New Delhi on October 4-5, 2018.
  • During this meeting on October 4-5, 2018, the sides reaffirmed their commitment to the Special and Privileged Strategic Partnership between India and Russia.
  • They declared that this relationship is an important factor for global peace and stability and appreciated each other’s respective roles as major powers with common responsibilities for maintaining global peace and stability.
  • This meeting takes place after the informal summit in Sochi on May 21, 2018 which was a unique meeting in international diplomacy, reflecting the deep trust and confidence between Prime Minister Modi and President Putin. The Sochi Summit manifested the role of interaction and cooperation between India and Russia in building a multi-polar world order.
  • On the 5th of October, 2018, India and Russia announced a number of agreements, including a $5.43 billion S-400 Triumf missile system deal, a space cooperation arrangement to put an Indian in space, and an action plan for a new nuclear plant.
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Mr. Putin also addressed a business summit, in an attempt to diversify ties and increase bilateral trade.
  • Currently, bilateral trade between the two countries is below $10 billion.
  • It is believed that much of the fresh momentum in bilateral engagement will come from the energy sector.
  • Several billions of dollars worth of investment and energy deals are in the pipeline.

Important Excerpts from the Joint Statement Released by India and Russia:

  • Developments on the Economic front:
  • The two sides reviewed the progress on the achievement of the goal to increase two-way investment to USD 30 billion by the year 2025 and noted with satisfaction that both countries were on the way to achieving this target.
  • They noted that in 2017 bilateral trade increased by more than 20% and agreed to work towards its further increase and diversification. The Sides expressed their support to promoting bilateral trade in national currencies.
  • The Indian Side invited Russian companies to participate in the development of industrial corridors in India, including in areas of road and rail infrastructure, smart cities, construction of wagons and creation of a joint transportation logistics company.
  • The Russian Side offered its expertise in tax collection based on satellite navigation technologies for the realization of joint projects in India including in the framework of above mentioned industrial corridors.
  • The Russian Side expressed its interest in participating in the international competitive biddings as and when the Ministry of Railways of India decides to execute the railway speed raising projects.
  • They called for the development of the International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC) through intensified efforts by finalizing pending issues related to Customs authorities, development of road and rail infrastructure and financial facilitation through bilateral discussions as well as discussions with other partner countries at the earliest.
  • India and Russia supported the early launch of the Green Corridor project aimed at the simplification of customs operations in respect of goods being transported between India and Russia. They regarded this as an important step towards enhancing mutual trade.
  • India and Russia agreed to work together to explore joint projects for productive, efficient and economic use of natural resources in each other’s country through application of appropriate technologies while ensuring affordable environment friendly utilization of natural resources.
  • The two sides acknowledged the agriculture sector as an important area for cooperation and committed themselves to eliminating trade barriers, greater production and trade in agricultural products.
  • The two sides agreed to explore opportunities of joint collaboration in precious metals, minerals, natural resources and forest produce, including timber, through joint investments, production, processing and skilled labour.
  • The Russian Side invited the Indian Side to invest in the Russian Far East. The Indian Side welcomed the decision to open an office of the Far East Agency in Mumbai.
  1. b) Developments in the area of Science and Technology:
  • The Sides stressed the importance of the longstanding and mutually beneficial India-Russia cooperation in outer space and welcomed the activity on setting up measurement data collection ground stations of the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System NavIC and the Russian Navigation Satellite System GLONASS in the territory of the Russian Federation and the Republic of India respectively.
  • India and Russia agreed to further intensify cooperation in the field of exploration and use of outer space for peaceful purposes, including human spaceflight programmes, scientific projects, as well as agreed to continue developing cooperation on BRICS remote sensing satellite constellation.
  • Both sides expressed interest in the development of mutually beneficial cooperation in the Arctic, inter alia in the sphere of joint scientific research.
  1. c) Developments in the area of Energy:
  • The Sides acknowledged the interest of Russian and Indian companies in cooperation in the field of LNG and welcomed the commencement of supply of LNG under the long-term contract between Gazrpom Group and GAIL India Ltd.
  • The Sides expressed their support to companies from both sides for development of cooperation and exploring opportunities for joint development of oil fields in the Russian territory, including in the Arctic shelf of Russia and joint development of projects on the shelf of the Pechora and Okhotsk Seas.
  • Civil nuclear cooperation between India and Russia is an important component of strategic partnership contributing to India’s energy-security and its commitments under the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.
  • India and Russia noted the progress achieved in the construction of the remainder of the six power units at Kudankulam NPP as well as the efforts being made in the components manufacturing for localization.
  • India and Russia highlighted the progress achieved in fulfillment of the agreements envisaged in the Memorandum of Understanding on trilateral cooperation in implementation of the Rooppur Nuclear Power Project in Bangladesh.
  • Both sides also decided to further explore possibilities of closer cooperation on hydel and renewable energy sources, energy efficiency, including in order to reduce the negative effects of climate change.
  1. d) Developments in the area of Military-Technical Cooperation:
  • The Russian Side positively evaluated the Indian participation in the Army Games 2018, Army 2018 and Moscow Conference on International Security.
  • India and Russia commended the successful completion of the first ever Tri-Services Exercise INDRA 2017 and committed to continue their Joint Military Exercises – INDRA Navy, INDRA Army and Avia INDRA – in 2018.
  • India and Russia welcomed the conclusion of the contract for the supply of the S-400 Long Range Surface to Air Missile System to India.
  • Both India and Russia reaffirmed their commitment to enhance military technical cooperation between India and Russia, which has a long history of mutual trust and mutual benefit.
  • Both India and Russia expressed satisfaction at the significant progress made on the ongoing projects of military technical cooperation and recognized the positive shift towards joint research and joint production of military technical equipment between the two countries.
  • They highly evaluated the Military Industrial Conference process as an important mechanism to promote the “Make in India” policy of the Government of India.
  1. e) Developments in the area of International Issues:
  • The two sides declared their support to Afghan government’s efforts towards the realization of an Afghan-led, and Afghan-owned national peace reconciliation process.
  • The two sides reaffirmed the commitment of India and Russia for a political resolution of the conflict in Syria, through an inclusive Syrian-led, Syrian-owned political process which safeguards the state sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Syria.
  • India and Russia expressed the serious concern about the possibility of an arms race in outer space and of outer space turning into an arena for military confrontation. They reaffirmed that the prevention of an arms race in outer space (PAROS), would avert a grave danger for international peace and security.
  • India and Russia underlined common approaches to ensuring security in the use of ICTs and their willingness to strengthen bilateral interagency practical dialogue in furtherance of the intergovernmental Agreement on Cooperation in the field of Security in the Use of Information and Communication Technologies.
  • The two sides confirmed their determination to enhance interaction and coordination of efforts in the regional multilateral fora such as BRICS, G-20, SCO, RIC and East Asia Summits. India expressed its aspiration to broaden cooperation with the Eurasian Economic Union.
  • India welcomed the initiative of Russia to create a Larger Eurasian Partnership that stipulates conjugation of national development strategies and multilateral integration projects in the interests of building effective platform of constructive cooperation based on strict observance of the international law, principles of equality, mutual respect and taking in account each other national perspectives.
  • Russia welcomed the participation of India in the counter-terror military exercise “Peace Mission – 2018”. Both Sides consider the goal of developing an economic component of SCO as an important one, including realization of transportation and infrastructure projects aimed at providing interconnection within the SCO Organization and with observers, partner countries, as well as other interested states.
  • They stood for increasing the role of SCO in the international affairs and believe it necessary to expand contacts and cooperation of SCO with the UN and its structures, other international and regional organizations. The Sides agreed to deepen cultural and humanitarian ties within the SCO.

Significance of the S-400 air defence system deal:

  • This deal denotes India’s desire to deepen defence cooperation with Russia. It also denotes that India is prepared to do this despite U.S. warnings that the deal could attract sanctions.
  • The fact that this deal comes just a month after India signed the Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA) for better interoperability with the U.S. military,  is a sign that India will not be forced or even persuaded into putting all its eggs in one strategic basket.
  • It is believed that more defence deals with Russia will make it increasingly difficult for the U.S. to give India a waiver from sanctions under CAATSA.

Editorial Analysis:

  • The contract for the S-400 was signed at the Delhi summit in a low-key manner. Neither leader mentioned it in his press statement and it was not signed in their presence.
  • The one sentence announcement was in paragraph 45 of the 68-paragraph Joint Statement.
  • Prime Minister Modi did not mention defence cooperation in his press statement, though it has been the centrepiece of India-Russia relations over decades.
  • It is also important to note that there exists a general perception that Indian and Russian perspectives today differ on key issues in India’s neighbourhood.
  • This includes matters pertaining to Pakistan, Afghanistan and China, and also on India’s strategic linkages with the U.S., including on the Indo-Pacific.
  • These issues would certainly have figured in the various meetings.

On Afghanistan:

    • Specifically, on Afghanistan, India has expressed support for the “Moscow format”.
  • The Moscow format’s main objective is to facilitate the national reconciliation process in Afghanistan and secure peace in that country as soon as possible.
  • In the “Moscow format”, Russia involves regional countries and major powers in an effort to draw the Taliban into negotiations with the Afghan leadership. The U.S. has boycotted the initiative of the Moscow format, and has initiated its own dialogue with the Taliban.

India-Russia (Points of Convergence):

    • Between India and Russia, there are obvious opportunities for cooperation.
  • Russia, is natural resources-rich, and India, is resource-hungry.
  • It is important to note that whether or not these natural resources are exploited would depend on how well India’s economic ministries, banks and business community understand the ground realities of doing business with Russia.
  • It is important to note that even before CAATSA, there was confusion in India about sanctions against Russia.

Concluding Remarks:

  • It is believed that both on CAATSA and on the U.S.’s proposed sanctions on Iran that go into force on November 4, 2018, India will need to make some tough decisions.
  • Further, every potential India-Russia defence deal could be subjected to a determination on applicability of sanctions.
  • In conclusion, actually imposing sanctions would hurt U.S. defence sales to India, which would defeat one of the principal objectives of the legislation. It is important to note that the India-U.S. strategic partnership is based on a strong mutuality of interests, but it was not intended to have the exclusivity of an alliance. India should not have to choose between one strategic partnership and another. The India-Russia dialogue should not get inextricably entangled in the India-U.S. dialogue.

2. ‘Another warning on warming’ and ‘Target 1.5’

  • Recently, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has released a special report on global warming of 1.5°C over pre-industrial temperatures.
  • This special report, provides details on how the global response to climate change needs to be strengthened within the broader context of sustainable development and continuing efforts to eradicate poverty.

What are its main focus areas?

  • The impacts of 1.5°C of warming and the possible development pathways by which the world could get there are its main focus.

A Brief Historical Perspective:

  • It was in the year 2015, at the Paris climate conference, that the global community made a pact to pursue efforts to limit warming to within 1.5°C. This level was half a degree below the previous target of 2°C.
  • This lower limit was greeted then with surprise and enthusiasm.

A Note on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)

  • The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is the leading international body for the assessment of climate change.
  • The IPCC was established by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) in 1988.
  • This was done so to provide the world with a clear scientific view on the current state of knowledge in climate change and its potential environmental and socio-economic impacts.
  • In the same year, 1988, the UN General Assembly endorsed the action by WMO and UNEP in jointly establishing the IPCC.

What does the IPCC do?

  • The IPCC reviews and assesses the most recent scientific, technical and socio-economic information produced worldwide relevant to the understanding of climate change. It does not conduct any research nor does it monitor climate related data or parameters.
  • As an intergovernmental body, membership of the IPCC is open to all member countries of the United Nations (UN) and WMO.

Editorial Analysis:

    • For most people, the difference between 1.5°C and 2°C may seem trivial when daily temperatures fluctuate much more widely. However, the reference here is to global average temperatures. Different regions of the earth will warm at different rates.
    • For instance, it is important to note that the Arctic is already experiencing warming that is many times higher than the global average.
  • It is believed that if nations do not mount a strenuous response against climate change, average global temperatures, which have already crossed 1°C, are likely to cross the 1.5°C mark around 2040.
  • As a result, the window of opportunity to take action is very small and closing fast.
  • Experts believe that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has come out with a clear scientific consensus. This scientific consensus calls for a reversal of man-made greenhouse gas emissions, to prevent severe harm to humanity in the decades ahead.
  • Experts further believe that there is now greater confidence in time-bound projections on the impacts of climate change on agriculture, health, water security and extreme weather. They further assert that with sound policies, the world can still pull back, although major progress must be achieved by 2030.

The Impact Half a degree of warming can have:

    • It is important to note that half a degree of warming makes a world of difference to many species. The chance of survival of these species is significantly reduced at the higher temperature.
  • At 1.5°C warming, ocean acidification will be reduced (compared to 2°C warming), with better prospects for marine ecosystems.
  • There is likely to be less intense and frequent hurricanes; droughts would not be as intense and heat waves would have smaller effects on crops; there would also be a reduced likelihood of an ice-free Arctic in summers.

Rise in Sea Levels:

    • Conservative studies estimate that sea levels would rise on average by about 50 cm by 2100 in a 2°C warmer world, 10 cm more than for 1.5°C warming.
    • However, beyond 2100, the overall assurance of much higher sea level rise is greater in a 2°C world.
  • The risks to food security, health, fresh water, human security, livelihoods and economic growth are already on the rise and will be worse in a 2°C world.
  • The number of people exposed to the complex and compounded risks from warming will also increase.
  • Further, the poorest, who are mostly in Asia and Africa, will suffer the worst impacts.
  • It is important to note that adaptation, or the changes required to withstand the temperature rise, will also be lower at the lower temperature limit.
  • A danger in crossing tipping points also arise.

What are ‘Tipping points’?

Tipping points’, are essentially the  thresholds beyond which the earth’s systems are no longer able to stabilise.

The danger in crossing tipping points becomes higher with more warming.

Such tipping points include:
a)  melting of Greenland ice,
b) collapse of Antarctic glaciers (which would lead to several metres of sea level rise), c) destruction of Amazon forests,
d) melting of all the permafrost and so on.

A Perspective from Asia:

  • It is important to note that countries such as: India, Pakistan and China are already suffering moderate effects of warming.
  • Such moderate effects of warming are felt in areas such as
  1. water availability,
  2. food production and
  3. land degradation.

The report released by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) asserts that these areas will worsen.

  • Further, closer to a 2°C increase, these impacts are expected to spread to sub-Saharan Africa, and West and East Asia.
  • The prognosis for India is particularly worrying. There is evidence to suggest it is among the regions that would experience the largest reductions in economic growth in a 2°C scenario.
  • The commitment to generate 100 GW of solar energy by 2022 should lead to a quick scale-up from the 24 GW installed, and cutting down of coal use.
  • Further, as a remedial measure, agriculture needs to be strengthened with policies that improve water conservation, and afforestation should help create a large carbon sink. There is a crucial role for all the States, since their decisions will have a lock-in effect.

A Note on the IPCC Report:

The IPCC report identifies two main strategies.

  1. Strategy 1: The first strategy stabilises global temperature around the 1.5°C mark with limited overshoot.
  2. Strategy 2: The second strategy permits temperatures to exceed 1.5°C temporarily before coming back down.

The consequences of the temporary overshoot would cause worse impacts than the first approach. To limit warming to around 1.5°C with no or limited overshoot, global net carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions need to decline by about 45% from 2010 levels by 2030 and reach net zero around mid-century. In comparison, to limit warming to just below 2°C, the reductions needed are about 20% by 2030 and reach net zero around 2075.

Mitigation:

    • There are a number of mitigation pathways illustrated to achieve these reductions. However, it is important to note that all of these mitigation pathways incorporate different levels of CO2 removal.
    • These different methods will themselves involve various risks, costs and trade-offs.
  • But there are also many synergies between achieving mitigation targets and fulfilling Sustainable Development Goals.
  • To stay below 1.5°C, the transitions required by energy systems and human societies, in areas such as land use, transport, and infrastructure, would have to be rapid and on an unprecedented scale with deep emission reductions.

Concluding Remarks:

  • It is believed that Governments should achieve net zero CO2 addition to the atmosphere, balancing man-made emissions through removal of CO2.
    • Further. there is public support for this and governments must go even beyond what they have committed to.
  • The IPCC makes it clear that the human and economic costs of a 2°C rise are far greater than for 1.5°C, and the need for action is urgent.
    • It is important to note that human activity has warmed the world by 1°C over the pre-industrial level and with another half-degree rise, many regions will have warmer extreme temperatures, raising the frequency, intensity and amount of rain or severity of drought.
    • Further, risks to food security and water, heat exposure, drought and coastal submergence all increase significantly even for a 1.5°C rise.
    • There are some important questions that need to be answered. For example:
      How is the remaining carbon budget, that is the room available in the atmosphere to safely contain more CO2, going to be shared among different countries? This is a difficult question to address, given the contentious nature of the negotiations.
    • Further, it has been reported, for example, that the U.S. has been obstructionist in the deliberations in areas such as Incheon, South Korea, at the recent meeting to determine the final text of the report. The U.S. also reiterated its intent to pull out of the Paris Agreement.
    • In conclusion, it is important to note that the contributions from the U.S. and other rich countries to the Green Climate Fund and other funding mechanisms for the purpose of mitigation and adaptation are vital even to reach the goals of the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).
  • These Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) are commitments that each country made prior to the Paris conference. Even if all the NDCs are implemented, the world is expected to warm by over 3°C.
    • Further, it is important to note that the disputes over the implementation of the Paris Agreement at numerous meetings, depict the deep divides among rich countries, emerging economies and least developed countries.
  • The next Conference of the Parties will be held in Poland.
  • Each nation from the global community of nations, will have to decide whether to play politics on a global scale for one’s own interests or to collaborate to protect the world and its ecosystems as a whole. The path forward offers no simple or easy solutions.

3. The Rohingya Reversal

  1. At the annual session of the executive committee of the UNHCR held in Geneva, India stated, “We are a responsible state with a functional democracy and rule of law”
  2. On the same day, seven Rohingya men were being taken to the Indo-Myanmar border for a scheduled deportation
  3. Ironically, they had no access to legal counsel, courts or the UNHCR, which is mandated by the government to conduct refugee status determination of Myanmar nationals
  4. The men had entered Assam in 2012 without documentation and were prosecuted for illegal entry under the Foreigners Act

NHRC v. State of Arunachal

  1. In NHRC v. State of Arunachal, the Court extended protection under Article 14 and 21 to refugees
  2. Further, various high courts have upheld the customary international law principle of non-refoulement in deportation cases and have referred the detainees to UNHCR
  3. In view of these principles, the deportation of Rohingya refugees is in contravention of India’s obligations both under the Constitution and international law

Why deportation is illegal?

  1. With regard to the argument that the men were “illegal immigrants”, it should be noted that, given the circumstances that cause them to flee, refugees often cross borders without prior planning or valid documentation
  2. If anything, this should reinforce their status as “refugees”
  3. In the present case, given the overwhelming evidence to show that the Rohingya deported to Myanmar are at risk of being tortured, indefinitely detained and even killed, the deportation potentially violates Article 21, and India’s international obligations

Plight of Rohingyas

  1. Refugees frequently, though not always, are citizens of the state they are fleeing from
  2. The root of the plight of the Rohingya is the denial of citizenship
  3. In Myanmar, they are being issued the controversial National Verification Card which does not recognise their religion or ethnicity — and definitely does not confer citizenship

Way forward

  1. In the absence of a domestic law for refugee protection, it has been up to the judiciary to extend minimum constitutional protection to refugees
  2. By allowing this deportation, the SC has set a new precedent that is contrary to India’s core constitutional tenets
  3. By this verdict, the judiciary has stepped back from its own principles

4. Explained: When a woman is harassed at work

  1. Over the last several days, a number of women in India have called out influential men — actors, standup comics, senior journalists for alleged sexual harassment.
  2. Some of these allegations relate to actions of then colleagues of the women.

Law against Sexual Harassment

  1. The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act (SHWWA) was passed in 2013.
  2. The rights of all women working or visiting any workplace, in any capacity, are protected under the Act.
  3. It defines sexual harassment, lays down the procedures for a complaint and inquiry, and the action to be taken. It broadens the Vishaka guidelines, which were already in place.

Vishaka guidelines

  1. These were laid down by the Supreme Court in a judgment in 1997.
  2. This was on a case filed by women’s rights groups, one of which was Vishaka.
  3. Legally binding, these defined sexual harassment and imposed three key obligations on institutions — prohibition, prevention, redress.
  4. The Supreme Court directed that they establish a Complaints Committee, which would look into matters of sexual harassment of women at the workplace.

2013 Act broadening the sense

  1. It mandates that every employer constitute an Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) at each office or branch with 10 or more employees.
  2. It lays down procedures and defines various aspects of sexual harassment.
  3. An aggrieved victim is a woman “of any age whether employed or not”, who “alleges to have been subjected to any act of sexual harassment”.
  4. Additionally, the Act mentions five circumstances that amount to sexual harassment —
  • implied or explicit promise of preferential treatment in her employment;
  • implied or explicit threat of detrimental treatment;
  • implied or explicit threat about her present or future employment status;
  • interference with her work or creating an offensive or hostile work environment;
  • humiliating treatment likely to affect her health or safety.

Defining Sexual Harassment at Work

  1. Sexual harassment (SH) includes “any one or more” of the following “unwelcome acts or behaviour” committed directly or by implication:
  • Physical contact and advance
  • A demand or request for sexual favours
  • Sexually coloured remarks
  • Showing pornography
  • Any other unwelcome physical, verbal or non-verbal conduct of sexual nature.
  1. The WCD Ministry has published a Handbook on Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace with more detailed instances of behaviour that constitutes sexual harassment at the workplace.
  2. These include, broadly:
  • Sexually suggestive remarks or innuendos; serious or repeated offensive remarks; inappropriate questions or remarks about a person’s sex life
  • Display of sexist or offensive pictures, posters, MMS, SMS, WhatsApp, or emails
  • Intimidation, threats, blackmail around sexual favours; also, threats, intimidation or retaliation against an employee who speaks up about these
  • Unwelcome social invitations with sexual overtones, commonly seen as flirting
  • Unwelcome sexual advances.
  1. The Handbook says “unwelcome behaviour” is experienced when the victim feels bad or powerless; it causes anger/sadness or negative self-esteem.
  2. It adds unwelcome behaviour is one which is “illegal, demeaning, invading, one-sided and power based”.

Mandate of the ICC

  1. Technically, it is not compulsory for an aggrieved person to file a complaint for action.
  2. The Act says the aggrieved victim “may” make, in writing, a complaint of sexual harassment.
  3. If she cannot, any member of the ICC “shall” render “all reasonable assistance” to her for making the complaint in writing.
  4. And if the woman is unable to make a complaint on account of her “physical or mental incapacity or death or otherwise”, her legal heir may do so.

Time Frame for raising Complaint

  1. The Act states the complaint of sexual harassment has to be made “within three months from the date of the incident”.
  2. For a series of incidents, it has to be made within three months from the date of the last incident. However, this is not rigid.
  3. The ICC can “extend the time limit” if “it is satisfied that the circumstances were such which prevented the woman from filing a complaint within the said period”.

Provision of Inquiry

  1. Section 10 of the SHWWA deals with conciliation.
  2. The ICC “may”, before inquiry, and “at the request of the aggrieved woman, take steps to settle the matter.
  3. It can be done provided that “no monetary settlement shall be made as a basis of conciliation”.

Inquiry Process

  1. The ICC may forward the complaint to the police under IPC Section 509 (word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman; maximum punishment one year jail with fine).
  2. Otherwise, the ICC can start an inquiry that has to be completed within 90 days.
  3. ICC has similar powers to those of a civil court in respect of the following matters: summoning and examining any person on oath; requiring the discovery and production of documents.
  4. While the inquiry is on, if the woman makes a written request, the ICC “may” recommend her transfer, leave for three months, or any other relief to her as may be prescribed.
  5. The identity of the woman, respondent, witness, any information on the inquiry, recommendation and action taken, the Act states, should not be made public.

Prosecution of the Convict

  1. If the allegations are proved, the ICC recommends that the employer take action for sexual harassment for misconduct “in accordance with the provisions of the service rules” of the company.
  2. It also recommends that the company deduct from the salary of the person found guilty, “as it may consider appropriate”.
  3. Compensation is determined based on five aspects: suffering and emotional distress caused to the woman; loss in career opportunity; her medical expenses; income and financial status of the respondent; and the feasibility of such payment.

Preventing Misuse of the Act

  1. Section 14 of the Act deals with punishment for false or malicious complaint and false evidence.
  2. In such a case, the ICC “may recommend” to the employer that it take action against the woman, or the person who has made the complaint, in “accordance with the provisions of the service rules”.
  3. The Act, however, makes it clear, that action cannot be taken for “mere inability” to “substantiate the complaint or provide adequate proof”.

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