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Internal Complaints Committees (ICC)

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May 05, 2023

Why in news?

The protest by Indian wrestlers has highlighted the importance of internal complaints committees.

What is internal complaints committees (ICC)?

  • First port of call - ICC was designed to be the first port of call for any grievance under the POSH (Prevention of Sexual Harassment Act) Act 2013.
  • Section 4 of the POSH Act - Every office of an organization employing 10 or more employees must have an internal committee dedicated to hearing and resolving sexual harassment complaints.
  • Members - It needs to have a minimum of 4 members with at least half should be women.
  • Among women 1 shall be shall be an external member
    • Preferably from an NGO or
    • An association that works for women’s empowerment or
    • A person familiar with issues related to sexual harassment.
  • Mandatory for recognitions - A functional ICC is one of the key conditions set up by the Ministry of Sports to grant annual recognition to the sporting federations.
  • Court verdict - In Global Health Private Limited & Mr. Arvinder Bagga v. Local Complaints Committee, District Indore and Others (2017), the Court held that there should be a fine imposed under the POSH Act for failing to constitute the ICC.
  • Female Presiding Officer - Has been made mandatory and should be an employee at a senior level at work.
  • Power of a civil court - Regarding investigation complaints of workplace sexual harassment ICC have the same powers as civil court under the Code of Civil Procedure 1908.
  • Tenure - ICC members have a maximum term of 3 years.
  • Section 10 of the POSH Act - ICC can resolve a complaint between the parties at the request of the aggrieved woman through conciliation by reaching an amicable settlement.

What are the challenges to ICC?

  • The POSH act is not gender neutral so the ICC can conduct investigations only if it is filed by women which excludes men and LGBTQ+ members.
  • Lack of awareness about ICC to the workers.
  • There is no mandate to form ICC in the informal sectors.
  • Even though many association have ICC the structure and functions are not conductive with POSH act.

What is the way forward?

  • Strict actions should be taken by government in case of a national sporting body having no ICC.
  • The functions and structure of the ICC needs to be reexamined by the government which should be in conducive with current demands.
  • Before starting of any tournament the awareness should be made about ICC.

Quick facts

  • Athletics Federation of India (AFI) is the body with the largest membership and the highest women participation.

National level Sports Federations (NSFs)

  • A list of 56 NSFs recognized by the Government for different sports disciplines.
  • NSFs can be recognized only by the union government.
  • Elections are held by the NSFs at the intervals prescribed under the bye-laws of the concerned NSFs.
  • National Sports Development Code of India 2011 provides the guild lines to conduct election for NSFs.
  • From 2010 the Government has introduced a system of annual recognition procedure for the NSFs.


  1. The Indian Express│ ICC Challenges
  2. PIB│ About National Level Sports Federations
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