Provisions Of Sexual Harassment At Workplace Act Available In Addition To Other Legal Remedies: J&K HC [Read Order]

Provisions Of Sexual Harassment At Workplace Act Available In Addition To Other Legal Remedies: J&K HC [Read Order]

The Jammu and Kashmir High Court recently clarified that the provisions of the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 are available in addition to remedies available under other laws.

Justice Sanjay Kumar GuptaJustice Sanjay Kumar Gupta ruled, "In this light of the matter, there is no manner of doubt that the said Act is in addition to RPC and there is no conflict between them. So it can be held that provisions of Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 are not in derogation of the provisions or any other law for the time being in force, including that of RPC."
The court was hearing a petition filed by one DB Singh under Section 561-A of the Code of Criminal Procedure, seeking quashing of an FIR filed against him. He had alleged that he had been falsely accused of harassment and victimisation by his junior to settle the score with him.
He had further claimed that the police could not have registered an FIR against him under 354 D, 506, 500-II and 509 of the Ranbir Penal Code (RPC) as a committee under the provisions of the 2013 Act had already been constituted to look into the allegations. The registration of the FIR, he said, was beyond the jurisdiction of police authorities.
The court, at the outset, noted that a case of cognizable offence has been made out against the petitioner and that the police has a statutory duty to investigate and complete the investigation as per law.
It then took note of Section 28 of the 2013 Act, which categorically states that "the of this Act shall be in addition to and not in derogation of the provisions or any other law for the time being in force."
The court therefore ruled that the provisions of the Act were in addition to the other remedies provided under other Acts, and dismissed the petition, observing, "While legislating this Act, framer of Act is aware of the provisions of the penal law and this Act and the consequential remedy available under the Act provides the additional remedy.
Having due regard to the scheme of the Act and purpose sought to be achieved to protect the interest of the women at work place better, the provisions are to be interpreted broadly, positively and purposefully in the context of the present case to give meaning to additional/ extended jurisdiction, particularly when Section 28 seeks to provide remedy under the Act in addition to other remedies provided under other Acts unless there is a clear bar."