(Analysis) Vishaka Guidelines

(Analysis) Vishaka Guidelines

Sexual HarassmentThe Hon'ble Supreme Court has in October provided a mechanism for the implementation of Vishaka Guidelines. Which require the employers at the workplace as well as other responsible persons or institutions to observe them and ensure the prevention of sexual harassment to women. Expressing its concern over the fact that the statutory law is not in place, the Bench of the Supreme Court said that the grievance in the present petitions was that women continued to be victims of sexual harassment at the workplace.

The Guidelines issued by the court said that

(i) It shall be the duty of the employer or other responsible persons in workplace or other institutions to prevent or deter the acts of sexual harassment and to provide the procedures for the resolution, settlement or prosecution of acts of sexual harassment by taking all steps required.

(ii) The rules/regulations of the government and the public sector bodies relating to conduct and discipline should include rules/regulation Prohibiting sexual harassment and provide for appropriate penalties in such rules against the offender.

(iii) As regards private employers, steps should be taken to include the aforesaid prohibitions in the standing orders under the Industrial employment (Standing Orders)Act, 1946."

Further, directing the States & the Union Territories, the Court said:

"The States and Union Territories which have not carried out amendments in the Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Rules shall now carry out amendments on the same lines, within two months; the States and Union Territories shall form adequate number of Complaints Committees so as to ensure that they function at taluka level, district level and state level. Those States and/or Union Territories which have formed only one Committee for the entire State shall now form adequate number of Complaints Committees within two months. The State functionaries and private and public sector undertakings / organizations / bodies/institutions etc. shall put in place sufficient mechanism to ensure full implementation of the Vishaka guidelines and further provide that the alleged harasser is found guilty, the complainant-victim is not forced to work with/under such harasser and where appropriate the possible the alleged harasser should be transferred. Further provision should be made that harassment and intimidation of witnesses and the complainants shall be met with severe disciplinary action."

The Bench directed the Bar Council of India to ensure that all bar association in the country and persons registered with the State Bar Councils should follow the Vishaka guidelines.

Similarly, the Medical Council of India, the Council of Architecture, the Institute of Chartered Accountants, the Institute of Company Secretaries and other statutory institutes should ensure that the organizations, bodies, associations, institutions and person registered/affiliated with them follow the guidelines. "We are of the view that if there is any non-compliance or non-adherence to the Vishaka guidelines, it will be open to the aggrieved persons to approach the respective High Courts. The High Court of such State would be in a better position to effectively consider the grievances raised in that regards."

Importance of the Article/News:

  • Vishaka Guidelines (Social Sector Initiatives)
  • Various Guidelines for the Public & Private Sector and the States.
  • Are only the guidelines issued sufficient enough to control the cases of crime against women? Or does the society need to change its mentality towards women?

Courtesy: The Hindu

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