You are here: Home » PTI Stories » National » News
Business Standard

Harassment at workplace: SC seeks reply from Centre, states

Topics
Law Crime

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

The Supreme Court today sought response from the Centre and state governments on a plea for the protection of women from sexual harassment at workplace, cases of which the petitioner claimed were on the rise.

A bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra was hearing a PIL which has sought immediate and proper implementation of the provisions of the Sexual Harassment At Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition) Act and for setting up redressal mechanism.

The bench, which also comprised justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud, was told by the petitioner that even the local district officers and complaints committees were not being appointed and the victims did not have a forum to file complaints even as such cases were on the rise.

"It will not be possible to effectively implement the provisions of the Act unless district officers are notified in all the districts of the states and UTs and Local Complaints Committees are constituted," the PIL, filed through advocate Esha Shekhar by Delhi-based NGO Initiatives for Inclusion Foundation (IIF), said.

The PIL sought a direction to the state governments to give full support to district officers, ensure collection of annual compliance reports from all organisations.

It alleged that various RTIs filed by the NGO shows that a very little progress has been made by the states to implement the Act.

"The data collected nationwide presents a picture of apathy and inaction in implementation of an Act which was originally brought in to eradicate sexual harassment from workplace and subsequently to create an enabling, safe and secure working environment for women.

"There is practically no avenue, both in organised and unorganised sector, for women who experience sexual harassment at workplace to lodge their complaints and seek redressal," it said.

The PIL claimed that the 2013 Act envisaged the setting up of district officers, nodal agencies as well as other redressal mechanisms at district level, in the form of local complaints committee in each state for redressal of sexual harassment complaints.

"However, it is seen that after four years of the Act coming into force throughout India, such mechanisms have not been created by many state governments/UTs," it alleged.

It added that the women working at the grass-root level are victims of sexual harassment and in the absence of any grievances redressal mechanism available to them for making complaints, they suffer.

"This is a very shocking state and unless appropriate directions are passed by the Supreme Court, the situation which women were facing in spite of the Vishaka Guidelines will continue," it said.

The present issue was earlier addressed by the Supreme Court in 1997 in its famous Vishaka judgement where the court had formulated guidelines to check the sexual harassment of working women in all workplaces in consonance with the international conventions and the fundamental rights.

It was directed that the guidelines, popularly known as Vishaka Guidelines, would be observed in all workplaces and they would be binding and enforceable under law until suitable legislation was enacted to occupy field.

Later, Parliament enacted the Act in December, 2013.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

Dear Reader,


Business Standard has always strived hard to provide up-to-date information and commentary on developments that are of interest to you and have wider political and economic implications for the country and the world. Your encouragement and constant feedback on how to improve our offering have only made our resolve and commitment to these ideals stronger. Even during these difficult times arising out of Covid-19, we continue to remain committed to keeping you informed and updated with credible news, authoritative views and incisive commentary on topical issues of relevance.
We, however, have a request.

As we battle the economic impact of the pandemic, we need your support even more, so that we can continue to offer you more quality content. Our subscription model has seen an encouraging response from many of you, who have subscribed to our online content. More subscription to our online content can only help us achieve the goals of offering you even better and more relevant content. We believe in free, fair and credible journalism. Your support through more subscriptions can help us practise the journalism to which we are committed.

Support quality journalism and subscribe to Business Standard.

Digital Editor

First Published: Thu, January 04 2018. 19:52 IST
RECOMMENDED FOR YOU