Vishakha Case

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Vishaka Guidelines – Sexual Harassment at Workplace - Nandan - Neelam - Nikhil - Priyanka - Srikrishnan - Alok - Ando - Arun - Msuya - Minjal

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Page 1: Vishakha Case

Vishaka Guidelines – Sexual Harassment at Workplace

- Nandan- Neelam- Nikhil- Priyanka- Srikrishnan

- Alok- Ando- Arun- Msuya- Minjal

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Mahatma Gandhi’s quote

‘If all the evils for which man has made himselfresponsible, none is so degrading, so shocking, or brutal as his abuse of the betterhalf of the humanity, the female sex’

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Position of Law Prior to Vishaka

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“Bhanwari Devi was a Dalit and so her rapists, the upper caste men, could not have possibly raped her.”

“It isn’t possible in the Indian culture that a man who has taken a vow to protect his wife in front of the holy fire, just stands and watches his wife being raped, when only two men almost twice his age are holding him.”

“The judge inferred that the presence of one Brahmin amongst the accused leads him to observe that gangs in rural areas are not usually multi-caste and so the accused could not have acted together.”

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Fundamental Rights of Women

What was the law on sexual harassment in the workplace prior to the Vishaka Case? ; What was the need for the Vishaka Guidelines?

• Article 32: Remedies for enforcement of right

• Art. 14: Right to equality

• Art. 15: Right to non-discrimination

• Art. 16: Right to equal opportunities in employment

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Contd…• Art. 21: Right to life

• Art. 19(1)(g): Right to practice any profession or to carry out any occupation, trade or business

• Art. 51 A(a): It is the duty of every citizen to abide by the Constitution and respects its ideals andInstitutions

• Art. 253: Legislation for giving effect to internationalagreements

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1. Duty of Employer/ other responsible persons in work places/other institutions:

• Duty to prevent/deter Commission Acts of Sexual Harassment– Identify the acts that constitute sexual harassment– Prohibit acts of sexual harassment

workplace/precincts – place of her residence– Penalize commission of acts of sexual harassment

• Duty to provide procedure– For resolution/ settlement or prosecution of acts of

sexual harassment by taking all steps required.

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2. Definition of sexual harassment:

Any unwelcome sexually determined behaviour (whether directly or by implication) such as :

– Physical contact and advances

– Demand or request for sexual favours

– Sexually coloured remarks

– Showing pornography

– Any other unwelcome physical, verbal or non-

verbal conduct of sexual nature.

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a) Express prohibition of Sexual Harassment must be notified, published and circulated

b) Government/ PSUs Rules/ Regulations for conduct/ discipline must include rules/ regulations prohibiting Sexual Harassment and provide for appropriate penalties against the offender

3. Preventive Steps:

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c) Private employers must include prohibitions in the standing orders

d) Appropriate work conditions to be provided

in respect of work, leisure, health and

hygiene to ensure that:

– No hostile environment towards women at

work places and– No employee woman should have

reasonable grounds to believe that she is disadvantaged in connection with her employment.

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• Initiate criminal proceedings under IPC if such conduct amounts to a specific offence under IPC or any other law.

• Ensure prevention of victimization and discrimination of victims and witnesses.

• Provide optional transfer, if the victim feels necessary.

4. Criminal Proceedings

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5. Initiate disciplinary proceeding

• Where such conduct amounts to misconduct in

employment, appropriate disciplinary action

should be initiated by the employer.

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The complaint mechanism should provide, where


• A Complaints Committee

• A special counselor or

• Other support services

• There must be strict maintenance of


6. Complaint Mechanism

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• Headed by women

• Not less than half members should be women

• Includes a third party/ NGO

7. Complaints committee

8. Worker’s Initiative• Employees should be allowed to raises

issues of Sexual Harassment at workers

meetings, employer and employee

meetings & other forums.

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• Create awareness of the rights of female employees to be

created at workplace.

• Notify guidelines in suitable manner

9. Awareness

10. Third Party Harassment• Necessary steps to be taken by the employer

to assist the victim in terms of support and

preventive action

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11. Central and State government to adopt suitable

measure including legislation to ensure these guidelines

are also observed by employers in PRIVATE SECTOR

12. These guidelines will not prejudice any rights available

under Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993

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Cases post Vishakha Guidelines

• Phaneesh Murthy – Infosys

• Nalini Netto – IAS Officer, Kerala

• P.E.Usha, Calicutt University

• Cases of sexual harassment in the Judicial sector

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The Corporate Scenario

• MJ Sonia, an employee of Nokia Siemens commits

suicide leaving a note stating two seniors

responsible for her death

• Referring to the suicide of an employee in

Bangalore, Poonam Kaul, head corporate

communication at Nokia India said, "It was not a

sexual harassment case. Nokia have an operational

grievances committee and a Site Development

Council at Chennai and Bangalore centres. “

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• 50% of the workforce in BPO and 28% in the

IT sectors are women.

• Nasscom raised these issues at various

forums and encouraged best practices which

can be adopted by the companies.

• Infosys also has sexual harassment cell call

ASHI (Anti Sexual Harassment Initiative).

• Founder of UNITES Professionals India, a

redressal forum for IT/ITeS employees.

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Problems faced by corporate…

• Negative publicity

• Liabilities by the way of damage

• Impact on employee morale.

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Critical review of Vishaka Guidelines

• Make provision for sexual harassment for

unorganized sector

• Including trial procedure

• Time to time surveys

• Enough awareness

• Help from NGOs