A vacation bench of the Delhi High Court comprising of Justice Siddharth Mridul and Justice Sunita Gupta has been approached by an Indian woman employee of Sri Lankan airlines, demanding action against non-implementation of Vishaka Guidelines concerned with the mechanism for dealing with sexual harassment at workplace.
PTI reported that the petitioner is a sales executive in the airline whose complaint against sexual harassment by a senior colleague has been pending since 2009 without any action being taken. She was instead transferred from Kochi to Delhi. She was informed in 2013 that her complaint was a closed subject now. She then got in touch with the National Commission for Women which sent a letter to the Delhi Police Commissioner to enquire into the matter, after which an FIR was finally lodged against the accused. Her refusal to withdraw the complaint led to her transfer from Kochi to Bangalore.
Her advocate, Ajay Verma hence demanded appropriate actions to Civil Aviation and Women and Child Development to take action against the company for non-implementation of the guidelines.
The matter will be heard on June 20.
Sexual Harassment at workplace has remained one of the central concerns of the women's movement in India since the early-'80s. In 1990s, the brutal gang-rape of a social worker who tried to prevent child marriage reignited the fire and enraged a women's rights group called Vishaka that filed public interest litigation in the Supreme Court of India. The result was the Vishaka Guidelines, to be followed in the absence of any legislation in the country.
The Sexual Harassment at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act and The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Rules 2013, were then notified by the Ministry of Women and Child Development. Both have come in to force from December 9, 2013. Read the Act and Rules here. The Act has in fact sought to widen the scope of the guidelines issued by the Supreme Court in the Vishaka Case.