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Case Analysis: Dr.Malabika Bhattacharjee v/s Internal Complaints Committee The Vivekananda

Facts Of The Case
This particular case was a writ petition which was filed and it challenged the actions of the Internal Complaints Committee of a Particular Institution to acknowledge a complaint under the Act as without jurisdiction on the ground that both the complainant and the respondent of this particular case had belongs to the same gender.

Dr.Malabika Bhattacharjee (Petitioners) v/s. Internal Complaints Committee The Vivekananda College (Respondents)

Issues Of The Case
The question of gender equality secures primary in deciding whether a complaint or grievance falls inside the periphery of the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition, and Redressal) Act, 2013. In this particular case, since the sex of the complainant and the respondent is the same, the question of the particular act is invoked.

Contentions Of The Parties
The Petitioner submits before Court that the Act as claimed, couldn't fall inside the domain or purview of Sexual harassment as contemplated in the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013.

Further, the petitioner places specific reliance on the meaning of Sexual Harassment in Section 2(n) of the particular Act and looks to put forth for the Court that the acts contemplated in that have no nexus or link with the current complaint.

Respondent contended before the High Court of Calcutta, that being based on the University Grants Commission Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal of Sexual Harassment of Women, Employees, and Students in the Higher Educational Institutions Regulations, 2015 and contended that the said Regulations are adequately wide and broad to encompass respondents, every gender being equal, verifiably implying that the sex of the complainant and the respondents can be the same to attract the rigors of the Regulations, which governs the present parties of this particular case also.

Observations By The Court

Ratio Decidendi

The Calcutta High Court observed that the complaints which are related to Same-Gender Sexual Harassment are maintainable under the Prevention of Sexual Harassment Act as High Court also stated that any person irrespective of its gender can be threatened by Sexual Harassment of a person who belongs to the same sex or gender so this particular act Prevention of Sexual Harassment Act 2013 can maintain the modesty and dignity of any victim or suffered irrespective of their gender

Obiter Dictum

The Court additionally stated: If Section 3(2) is investigated, it is seen that the act contemplated in that particular section can be executed or perpetrated by the members of any gender interse.

The Court dismissed the writ petition and further saw that the meaning of Sexual Harassment in Section 2(n) can't be a static concept yet it must be interpreted against the backdrop of the social perspective.

References:
  • https://www.latestlaws.com/latest-news/high-court-expounds-same-gender-sexual-harassment-complaints-are-maintainable-under-the-posh-act-2013/
  • https://www.livelaw.in/top-stories/same-gender-sexual-harassment-complaints-maintainable-posh-act-calcutta-high-court-168397
  • https://www.freepressjournal.in/india/same-gender-sexual-harassment-complaints-are-maintainable-under-posh-act-says-calcutta-hc

Written By Gaurav Purohit

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