In a turning point for Indian cricket, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has released its policy on the prevention, prohibition, and redressal of sexual harassment. It will come into force on the date as may be notified by the Board and is applicable to any committees, departments, and groups in existence or to be set up by the Board including IPL and NCA.
The policy has been formulated as required under provisions of the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013, with a view to “promote a safe working environment for all free from any sort of workplace harassment, including sexual harassment”.
Any BCCI personnel who is a woman/man/third gender can file a complaint under the policy. Apart from defining sexual harassment, the document provides for the constitution of an Internal Committee (IC) and lays down the procedure for making the complaint. Additionally, the BCCI has nominated members of the Internal Complaints Committee. The Committee may attempt to settle the matter through conciliation; however, it is expressly stated that “no monetary settlement shall be the basis of such conciliation”.
It is clarified that the workplace of the Board will not include events attended by BCCI personnel in their personal capacities, venues of promotional and endorsement events where the BCCI personnel are not representing the Board, etc. In case of a guilty finding, the Board would be empowered to impose penalties by directing the respondent to tender a “written apology”, undergo counselling, pay a fine, etc. Such a finding could also lead to termination of employment.
The Board would be obligated to assist the complainant in filing a criminal complaint if the complainant so desires. Further, the policy requires the Board to report offences against minors to the Special Juvenile Police Unit, or the local police, and comply with any other requirements under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012, or other applicable laws.