Sexual Harassment At Workplace

Sexual Harassment of women is all about expression of male power over women, which is to remind latter of their vulnerability and subjugated status. In our society, violence against woman is borne out of patriarchal values a woman is forced to conform to gender roles. Sexual harassment is one of the most deadly evils of modern society. In order to prevent it, various provisions were added in the IPC and an Act has also been enacted. However, it is the Act which specifically deals with sexual harassment at workplace. IPC has made activities with an intention of outraging the modesty of a woman disrobing a woman, voyeurism and stalking as offences. Before moving further, it is pertinent to understand the meaning of sexual harassment. It includes physical contact involving unwelcome sexual overtures, demand or request for sexual favours, showing pornography against the will of the woman, and making sexually coloured remarks.

In today’s era, woman has become an essential part of formal labour workforce in India. So it is more than ever before, a pressing need for rights of woman to be respected, protected specially at the workplace. It was after Vishaka and ors. v. State of Rajasthan that the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 was enacted. The Act lays down circumstances that would amount to sexual harassment. Those are, any preferential/detrimental treatment in employment, creating intimidating environment and humiliating a woman.The Act makes it the employers’ duty to provide safe working environment to a woman employee. An internal and local complaint committee is to be constituted under this Act to deal with complaints under this Act. If employer contravenes the provisions of this Act, he shall be fined with maximum ₹50,000. The aggrieved woman is to be given compensation once the offence is proved. The amount of compensation shall depend on the pain, suffering, mental trauma caused to the woman, her medical expenses and income of the convict.

Despite the fact, that there are chances of the Act being misused, it is doing more good than harm, because the mere existence of this Act surely has a deterrent impact on the evil doers.

  •  Indian Penal Code, 1860, section 354.
  •  Indian Penal Code, 1860, section 354B, inserted by the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013.
  •  Indian Penal Code, 1860, section 354C, inserted by the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013.
  •  Indian Penal Code, 1860, section 354D, inserted by the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013.
  •  Indian Penal Code, 1860, section 354A, inserted by the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013.
  •  (1997) 6 SCC 241
  • Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013, section 3.
  • Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013, section 19.
  • Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013, section 4 and 6 respectively.
  • Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013, section 15.

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