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Sexual Harassment At Workplace: SC Refuses Plea To Issue Directions To Protect Complainants/Witnesses From Retaliation/Victimization By Accused [Read Order]

LIVELAW NEWS NETWORK
8 Feb 2020 8:56 AM GMT
Sexual Harassment At Workplace: SC Refuses Plea To Issue Directions To Protect Complainants/Witnesses From Retaliation/Victimization By Accused [Read Order]
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The Supreme Court has refused a plea to issue directions to protect complainants/witnesses/other persons in cases of complaints of sexual harassment from acts of retaliation/victimization by the accused persons or concerned organizations. The bench was considering a special leave petition against a Delhi High Court judgment in which the petitioner highlighted the issue that the...

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The Supreme Court has refused a plea to issue directions to protect complainants/witnesses/other persons in cases of complaints of sexual harassment from acts of retaliation/victimization by the accused persons or concerned organizations.

The bench was considering a special leave petition against a Delhi High Court judgment in which the petitioner highlighted the issue that the Sexual Harassment of Women (Prevention, prohibition and Redressal) Act of 2013 does not contain any such provision.

While disposing the SLP, the bench of Justices R. Banumathi and AS Bopanna, however, granted liberty to the petitioner to work out her remedy in accordance with law including by making representation before the concerned authorities.

The Delhi High Court had dismissed the PIL filed by Sunita Thawani who sought the following reliefs:

  • Issue a Writ of Mandamus to the Respondents, commanding them to consider making suitable amendments to The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013, so as to include retaliation/victimization as a facet of sexual harassment and to provide for measures for protection of women who have complained of sexual harassment/witnesses/those involved in the inquiry process, including those making an allegation (whether express or not) that some person has contravened the Act and/or committed an act of sexual harassment from such victimization/retaliation;
  • Issue suitable general directions as this Hon'ble Court deems fit to provide for measures for protection of women who have complained of sexual harassment/witnesses/those involved in the inquiry process, including those making an allegation (whether express or not) that some person has contravened the Act and/or committed an act of sexual harassment from such victimization/retaliation till such time as suitable amendments to The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 are not made by the Respondents;

The High Court had dismissed the plea observing that it effectively seeks creation of a new category of offence in the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act 2013, i.e., an offence of retaliation/victimisation. It had said:

Retaliation, or victimization, are only the provocation for an act of assault. If an act of assault amounts to sexual harassment, it would anyway be punishable under the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act 2013. If it does not, it cannot be punishable under the said Act, as the act deals with only offences of a sexual nature, and an offence, which does not lead to sexual harassment, can obviously find no place therein.


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