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POSH Act applies to girl students: Calcutta High Court; quashes suspension of teacher accused of sexual harassment

The Bench of Justices Harish Tandon and Rabindranath Samanta ruled that the committee in question was not an internal complaints committee as envisaged by the POSH Act.

Counsel for the school had argued that POSH Act was not in fact applicable to the facts of the case, since the allegations were made by girl students of the school. This interpretation was outrightly rejected by the judges, who discussed the definition of “aggrieved woman” under the Act and stated,

That being so, the provisions of the Act squarely apply to the students of the school.”

As to the suspension order, the Court found that such a move exceeding 90 days without any justifiable ground was illegal. The committee for summary trial was thus found devoid of legal force as it did not adhere to mandatory requirements of the law.

The order of suspension against the petitioner vide order dated 16.02.2020 made by the respondent no. 4 and extended from time to time and the order dated 16.06.2020 by which the committee for summary trial was constituted are hereby quashed,” the Court ruled.

Source: Barandbench

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