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Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal Act, 2013

Background
The act was passed in pursuance of Vishakha guidelines given by Supreme court. In the case Vishakha and others v. State of Rajasthan, 1997 the Supreme court acknowledged the gravity of sexual harassment of working women and laid down guidelines, making it mandatory for employers to prevent occurrence of such offences.

India had already signed Convention on Elimination of all forms of discrimination against women, (CEDAW) but had no domestic law in furtherance of it. So,, this was to assimilate the international obligation in Indian legal system.

Scope

  • The act extends to private as well as public places
  • It covers schools as well as colleges.
  • It do covers the transportation taken and places visited by employee during the course of employment.
  • The act also extents to the Army men, as decided by the Armed forces Tribunal.


Requirement
In order to ensure the gender equality at workplaces this act came in force moreover iit is very important to tap a vast source of human capital. The act was also required to get rid of the hostile environment at workplaces. The act was also required to protect fundamental rights under article 14 which talks about equality before law, article 15 which says that there shall be no discrimination on the basis of caste, creed, race, colour, sex, etc, article 19(1)(g) which gives a right to carry out any profession, it (the act) do directs the state to provide just and human conditions at workplace under article 42 of the constitution

Main Features Of The Act

The act provides us with the definition of sexual harassment, the definition shall include: i) Any physical contact and advances ( ii) Any demand or request for sexual favours, (iii) Showing pornographic content against the will of the women (iv) making sexually coloured remarks. Any of the practises mentioned would be considered as a sexual harassment act.

Court Judgement

In the case "Vishaka vs. State of Rajasthan and Ors." it was held by Supreme Court that the sexual harassment of a woman at a workplace would be violative of her fundamental rights of gender equality and right to life and liberty under Articles 14, 15, 19 and 21 of the Indian Constitution. The court concluded that such Act would be considered as a violation of women’s human rights.

Cases Laws Related To Sexual Harassment

  1. Shanta Kumar v. Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CDIR) & Ors, Delhi High Court ((2018) 156 FLR 719)
  2. K.P. Anil Rajagopal v. State of Kerela, Kerela High Court ((2018) 1 KLJ 106)
  3. Gaurav Jain v. Hindustan Latex Family Planning Promotion Trust and Ors. (2015 SCC OnLine Del 11026)
  4. Jaya Kodate v. Rashtrasant Tukdoji Maharaj Nagpur University (2014 SCC OnLine Bom 814)
  5. Shital Prasad Sharma v. State of Rajasthan and Ors. (2018 SCC OnLine Raj 1676)
  6. Sarita Verma v. New Delhi Municipal Corporation & Ors, (2016 LLR 785 (2))
  7. Ruchika Singh Chhabra v. Air France India and Anr. (2018 SCC Online Del 9340)
  8. Shital Prasad Sharma v. State of Rajasthan and Ors. (2018 SCC OnLine Raj 1676


Analysis And Interpretation

POSH Act is still at a budding stage, the above mentioned cases help us clarify the laws related to the sexual harassment at workplace. Many of these cases do help the Indian legal system who are required to investigate complaints.

Sexual harassment allegations in the workplace do risk of loss of employer's reputation but also lead to legal troubles too. Sexual harassment at workplace continues to remain one of the most sensitive issues that needs to be dealt with immense care and sensitively. As said by the Bombay High Court, employers need to be concerned with the safety of women at workplace rather than staging a farce of compliance under the POSH Act.

References

  • https://www.mondaq.com/india/discrimination-disability-sexual-harassment/723340/india39s-law-on-workplace-sexual-harassment-recent-judicial-interpretations
  • https://blog.ipleaders.in/landmark-judgments-on-sexual-harassment/

Written By: Anirudh Gupta

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