To find out the malignancy which has further deteriorated the problem of sexual harassment of women at workplace.
To find out the flaws in present system which failed to address the malignancy.
To find out the possible cure for the malignancy .
Research Questions What are the existing laws that speak about the status of women particularly at workplace? Is there any law to protect the harassment of women at workplace? If yes, then are they adequate or not ? What was the need for supreme court to lay down the guidelines in the Vishakha case? Do we really need any special enactment to prevent sexual harassment of women at workplace? Do we need modification in the Protection of Women Against Sexual Harassment at Workplace Bill 2010?
Lack of political will and failure of organs of democracy to execute protection laws have led to non- resolution of this issue.
Complete enforcement of protection laws coupled with specialized machineries, agencies as well as radical change in attitudeof society will address the solution.
According to The Protection of Women Against Sexual Harassment at Work Place Bill, 2010 (same as laid down in Vishaka’s case) : Sexual Harassment at work place includes unwelcome sexually determined behaviour such as- physical contact and advances; demand or request for sexual favours; sexually coloured remarks; showing pornography; any other unwelcome physical, verbal or non-verbal conduct of sexual nature. What is Sexual Harassment?
Indian Constitution. Indian Penal Code,1860. The Protection of Women Against Sexual Harassment at Work Place Bill, 2010. Law of Torts. Vishaka’s Judgment Guidelines. Relevant Laws :
Sexual Harassment and Indian Constitution Fundamental Rights Art.14: Equality before law Art. 15: Right to non-discrimination Art.15(1): The State shall not discriminate against any citizen on grounds only of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth or any of them Art. 15(3):The State shall make any special provision in favour of women and children
Art. 16(1): Right to equal opportunities in employment to any office under the state Art. 16(2): No citizen shall, on grounds only of religion, race, caste, sex, descent, place of birth, residence or any of them, be ineligible for, or discriminated against in respect of, any employment or office under the State. Art. 19(1)(g): Right to practice any profession or to carry out any occupation, trade or business. Art. 21: Right to life. Art. 32 : Remedies for enforcement of right. Contd…
Art. 42: The State shall make provision for securingjust and humane conditions of work and maternity relief
Art. 51-A (a): It is the duty of every citizen to abide by the constitution and respect its ideals and institutions Art. 51-A (e): To promote harmony and the spirit of common brotherhood amongst all the people of India transcending religious linguistic and regional or sectional diversities; to renounce practices derogatory to the dignity of women
S. 294 deals with obscene acts and songs at public place. S. 354 deals with assault or criminal force against women. S.376 deals with rape. S. 509 deals with uttering words or making gestures which outrages a women’s modesty. Sexual Harassment and IPC
Assault Battery Nuisance Libel Slander Sexual Harassment and Tort
1) If a person harasses another by showing books, photographs, paintings, films etc. containing indecent representation of women then he will be liable with minimum 2yrs. imprisonment.2) Section 7 of this act punishes companies, if there is indecent representation of women like showing pornography. Indecent Representation of Women, Act (1997).
Guidelines laid down by Supreme Court under Vishakha v. State of Rajasthan AIR 1997 (7)SC 323 1. Duty of Employers/ other responsible persons in work places:
Duty to prevent/deter commission acts of Sexual Harassment
- Identify the acts that constitutes sexual harassment. -Prohibit acts of sexual harassment at workplace. -Penalize commission of acts of sexual harassment.
Duty to provide procedure:
- For resolution/ settlement or prosecution of acts of sexual harassment by taking all steps required .
As stated by Supreme Court, these guidelines are applicable to: (a) The employer or other responsible persons or other institutions to prevent sexual harassment and to provide procedures for the resolution of complaint. (b) Women who either draw a regular salary, receive an honorarium, or work in a voluntary capacity in the organized sector come under the purview of these guidelines. Contd…
a)Express prohibition of Sexual Harassment must be notified, published and circulated. b)Government/ PSUs Rules/ Regulations forconduct/ discipline must include rules/regulations prohibiting Sexual Harassment andprovide for appropriate penalties against theoffender. 2. Preventive Steps (as laids down in Vishakha case) :
d) Provision should be made for appropriate work conditions for women. e) Inclusion of prohibition of sexual harassment in the standing orders the Industrial Employment (Standing Order) act, 1946 by the private employers. Contd…
Initiate criminal proceeding under IPC if such conduct amounts to specific offence under IPC or any other law. Ensure prevention of victimization and discrimination of victims and witnesses. Provide optional transfer, if the victim feels necessary. ( intrime 3. Criminal Proceeding
Where such conduct amounts to misconduct in employment, appropriate disciplinary action should be initiated by the employer. 4.Initiate disciplinary proceeding
The complaint mechanism should provide, where necessary: A Complaints Committee, A special counsellor or Other support services.
There must be strict maintenance ofconfidentiality.
Headed by women. Not less than the half members should be women. Includes a third party/NGO. 6.Complaint Committee
Employees should be allowed to raise issues of Sexual Harassment at workersmeetings, employer and employeemeetings & other forums. 7. Worker’s Initiative
Create awareness of the rights of female employees to be created at workplace. Notified guidelines in suitable manner. 8. Awareness
Necessary steps to be taken by the employer to assist the victim in terms of support and preventive action. 9. Third Party Harassment
10. Central and State government to adopt suitable measure including legislation to ensure these guidelines are also observed by employers in PRIVATE SECTOR. 11. These guidelines will not prejudice any rights available under Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993
The Protection of Women Against Sexual Harassment at Work Place Bill, 2010
Defines : Sexual Harassment at work place. Creates a mechanism for redressal of complaints. Provide safeguards against false and malicious charges. Complaint committee: - Local complaint committee. - Internal complaint committee. Penalties for employers. Complaint committees: Power of civil court. Complaint committees: space for conciliation. Highlights of the Bill
No clear demarcation of the jurisdiction, composition and functions of the committees. No provision to protect the men from sexual harassment. Exclusion of the cases of Domestic Workers. Action against the complainant in case of a false or malicious complaints. Issues in the Bill 2010 : Need for amendment
The Bill doesn’t speak about mandatory compensations to victims of sexual harassment. Contd..
The apathy of government to deal with the issue of sexual harassment at workplace categorically implies the lack of political will as well as the failure of organs of government to address the issue. The existing legal framework is not comprehensive and there is difficulty in access to justice for the victims and this can be addressed only by complete enforcement of protection laws coupled with addition of specialized machineries, agencies as well as a radical change in the mindset of society towards women issues will address the problem adequately. CONCLUSIONS
Eradication of illiteracy among women. Spread of Legal and Constitution literacy among women. Free legal aid to women including free legal advice. Promotion of economic independence of women. Psychological change of men in their attitude towards women. Suggestion to curb sexual harassment
Contd.. State support to victims of sexual harassment. Creation of department of public awareness for women to promote interaction between women citizens and the state. Creation of a Monitoring agency to ensure enforcement of the legislation intended to protect and promote the rights and interests of women. Positive contribution from the media.
PLEASE DON’T IGNORE SEXUAL HARRASMENT IN THE HOPE THAT IT WILL GO AWAY