Considering the traditional Indian society, several steps have been taken in order to safeguard the rights and status of women in their offices. One such step is the introduction of the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace Act, 2013. Several complaints/ cases might have been registered under this Act; however, this Delhi High Court judgement plays a vital role till date.
A perverted mind, mischief, feudal mentality often leads to sexual harassment of the female employees. Sexual harassment should be dealt strictly by i) exemplary punishment or ii) physiatric treatment or both. Sexual harassment is nothing new. Women across every section of society face it. However, more and more brave women are speaking up. Women, irrespective of their professions like doctors, engineers, managers, teachers etc. face sexual harassment. Since the number of women in workplace is increasing, it is necessary to change the attitude towards them. Still women face the risk of getting sexual harassed by superiors or colleagues in their workplaces. Sexual harassment is an offence and it should be dealt strictly. More and more educated women, who are aware of their rights, are raising voices against sexual harassment at their workplaces. This is indeed a welcome sign.
Earlier female workers were looked down or mocked and stigmatized for raising their voices against sexual harassment. However, times have changed. Women are no longer ready to tolerate the nuisance. Unfortunately, still some management try to put cases of sexual harassment under the carpet.
In the latest Delhi High Court case in sexual harassment, Mr. X challenged the termination of his service by the employer through a Writ Petition before the Hon’ble Delhi High Court. Mr. X was charged with sexual harassment, an Internal Complaint Committee (ICC) conducted its enquiry and found him guilty as per the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace Act, 2013 and dismissed him from service. The Hon’ble Delhi High Court observed that Mr. X took the complainant, a young junior female employee to Hyderabad on pretext of some official work and booked separate rooms in the hotel. However, he forced the complainant to sleep with him. Further evidences were found that in the past, Mr. X has travelled with female staffs on official trips on various occasions. The complainant was a young unmarried junior staff to whom Mr. X used sexual tainted languages and verbally abused her which made her ill. Even Mr. X refused to hand over the room key to the complainant and knocked on the door of the complainant several times at night.
Above acts were considered by the Hon’ble High Court Delhi as sexual harassment under the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace Act, 2013. This was the first time the complainant raised her voice against Mr. X a senior official and it needed a lot of courage. The Hon’ble Delhi High Court considered that a young woman would not want to ruin her reputation by making such a complaint without any reason. The labour law advocate appearing on behalf of Mr. X argued that the complaint was raised almost after two months of the incident but the Hon’ble High Court Delhi rejected such arguments and stated that the so called delay on behalf of the complainant is not fatal.
Hon’ble High Court Delhi rightly held that the official trip was pre planned and arranged by Mr. X and there was no requirement of taking the complainant/ young female junior staff with him. It further held that the report of the Internal Complaint Committee (ICC) is based on evidence and holds merit. Hence, the Hon’ble Delhi High Court held that Mr. X has been rightly terminated from service for sexual harassment and his writ was rejected. For more information on this particular case, feel free to contact the labour law advocate in Kolkata near you.