POLICIES : WHISTLE BLOWER POLICIES
VIGIL MECHANISM POLICY
The general purpose of this policy is to protect any person who makes a good faith disclosure of suspected wrongful conduct or violations of the SWAGAT HOUSING FINANCE COMPANY LIMITED (“SHFCL”) Code of Ethics. SHFCL prohibits any discrimination, retaliation or harassment against anyone making such a report, or participating in an investigation and encourages an atmosphere that allows individuals to raise concerns, and/or to meet their obligations to disclose violations of law and serious breaches of conduct covered by SHFCL policies and be free of discrimination, retaliation, threats or harassment.
The Vigil mechanism is implemented not only as a safeguard to unethical practices but also to provide mechanism for reporting genuine concerns or grievance as provided in Section 177 (9) and (10) of the Companies Act, 2013 and the Companies (Meetings of Board and its
Powers) Rules, 2014.
Definitions of some of the key terms used in this mechanism are given below:
Effective whistle-blowing procedure has been enabled in the company to act as a deterrent to malpractices, encourage openness, promote transparency, underpin the risk management systems & help protect the reputation of SHFCL. This policy defines and lays down the process for raising a ‘protected disclosure’, the safeguards in place for the individual raising a protected disclosure, the roles and responsibilities of all involved and also sets the time lines for all processes to be followed. In all instances, SHFCL retains the prerogative to determine when circumstances warrant an investigation and, in conformity with this policy and applicable laws and regulations, the appropriate investigative process to be employed.
Whistle Blower/Vigil Mechanism Policy has been established, intending to achieve the following objectives:
Scope & Eligibility
The policy applies to all permanent employees and partners of SHFCL. This policy should not be used in place of any grievance redressal mechanism.
All employees, directors, vendors, suppliers, dealers and consultants, including auditors and advocates who are associated with SHFCL can raise concerns regarding malpractices and events which may negatively impact the company.
The policy covers malpractices and events, including but not limited to:
All matters not covered under this mechanism can be reported directly to your Head of Department or your Human Resources contact.
Reporting a Protected Disclosure:
Eligible individuals may submit protected disclosure/s anonymously; however it is recommended that the reporting is done in writing (English, Hindi or in the regional language of the place of employment), so as to assure a clear understanding of the issue. Such reports should be factual rather than speculative and should contain as much specific information as possible, to allow for proper assessment of the nature, extent and urgency of preliminary investigative procedures. The whistle-blower need not prove the concern but must demonstrate sufficient grounds for raising the concern. The whistle-blower should also refrain from obtaining evidence for which s/he does not have a right of access and no organisational support shall be extended to the whistle-blower for having obtained any information illegally.
The Protected Disclosure should be forwarded under a covering letter which shall bear the identity of the whistle-blower. The Chairman of SHFCL / Member of the Board of Directors, as the case may be shall detach the covering letter and forward only the Protected Disclosure to the investigators for investigation. The protected disclosure could be submitted through any of the channels mentioned below:
Mrs. Sahana Prabhu
Swagat Housing Finance Company Limited,
A1/207, Laram Centre, opp. Platform No. 6, Near Andheri Railway Station, Andheri West, Mumbai – 400058.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Contact No: 9820601894
Process of Investigation
The following investigation procedure will be adhered to on receipt of the protected disclosure:
The Chairman shall submit a report to the Board of Directors on a regular basis about all Protected Disclosures referred to him / her since the last report together with the results of investigations, if any. All cases registered under the Whistle Blower / Vigil Mechanism Policy shall be presented at Board Meetings.
Retention of Documents
All Protected Disclosures in writing or documented along with the results of investigation relating thereto shall be retained by the Company for a minimum period of seven years.
Remedies & Discipline
If the Company determines that a compliance or ethical violation has occurred, it will take the following actions as deemed fit to correct it.
Any individual or identity found guilty of wrong doing will be subject to disciplinary action up to and including termination of employment or legal action, based on severity.
Appropriate procedures, policies and controls will be established in all departments to ensure early detection of similar violation.
During the investigation period or at any time thereafter, if any individual or identity is found to be:
it could lead to disciplinary action including termination of employment & or legal proceedings, as deemed fit.
In case, the Board concludes that the protected disclosure has been made malafide and is a false accusation or is an abuse of policy, then appropriate action including termination against the individual or identity making the disclosure will be taken.
Some disclosures may not result in any investigation or action at a later stage even though they are made in good faith. In such circumstances, no action would be initiated against the submitter of information.
SHFCL will use best efforts to protect whistle-blowers against retaliation. The Company will keep the whistle-blower’s identity confidential, unless:
The Organisation prohibits retaliation against a whistle-blower with the intent or effect of adversely affecting the terms or conditions of employment including but not limited to, threats of physical harm, loss of job, punitive work assignments, or impact on salary or wages. The whistle-blower shall be seen essentially as a witness and not as a complainant. Whistle-blowers who believe that they have been retaliated against; may file a written complaint with the Chairman of the Audit Committee. A proven complaint of retaliation shall result in a proper remedy for the individual harmed and disciplinary action including termination of employment against the retaliating individual. This protection from retaliation is not intended to prohibit managers or supervisors from taking action, including disciplinary action, in the usual scope of their duties and based on valid performance-related factors.
This policy shall be reviewed every year along with the other policies of the company. However, it shall be reviewed earlier by the Management Committee (and reported to the Board at the next meeting) if need arises for the same and / or under special circumstances, for example a change in law.