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Plea seeks implementation of Sexual Harassment at Workplace Act, SC issues notice to states

By Chennabasaveshwar

The Supreme Court on Thursday issued a notice to all the states after hearing a plea seeking proper implementation of Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace Act. The Court proceeded to issue a notice to the Centre and the states and posted the case for hearing after four weeks. The petition filed by NGO Initiatives for Inclusion Foundation and its trustee Pallavi Pareek was heard by a Bench of Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra and Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud.

Plea seeks implementation of Sexual Harassment at Workplace Act, SC issues notice to states

Advocate Sanjay Parikh, along with advocates Anitha Shenoy and Esha Shekhar, appeared for the petitioners. The petitioners have prayed for the implementation of the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition, Redressal) Act, 2013 and the Rules framed pursuant to the Act.

The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 seeks to protect women from sexual harassment at their place of work. It was passed by the Lok Sabha (the lower house of the Indian Parliament) on 3 September 2012. It was passed by the Rajya Sabha (the upper house of the Indian Parliament) on 26 February 2013.

The Bill got the assent of the President on 23 April 2013. The Act came into force from 9 December 2013. This statute superseded the Vishakha Guidelines for prevention of sexual harassment introduced by the Supreme Court of India. It was reported by the International Labour Organization that very few Indian employers were compliant with this statute.

Most Indian employers have not implemented the law despite the legal requirement that any workplace with more than 10 employees need to implement it.

According to a FICCI-EY November 2015 report, 36 per cent of Indian companies and 25 per cent among MNCs are not compliant with the Sexual Harassment Act, 2013. The government has threatened to take stern action against employers who fail to comply with this law.

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