Sexual harassment as per the sexual harassment act 2013, is something which is overtly very disgraceful in nature , which cause a person some uncomfort , which tries to put down the dignity of women and causes her some discomfort. Sexual harassment in itself is a word that has wide ambits and is applicable in several cases and places where any amount of harm is imposed to the dignity of women in any particular form. Sexual harassment at work place forms a major part of the sexual harassment act.
Workplace is an area where a bunch of colleagues are sitting together and doing their daily activities . Sexual harassment at work place is precisely where something is done on a “quid pro quo basis” where something is done in turn of something , when a female is asked to go through some circumstances where she is put through stressful situations or where she is made uncomfortable about her appearance or about the way she talks, about the way she moves around which causes or hampers her deminer in office so that is sexual harassment at work place. Anything starting from a small touch or brush it need not be a physical contact anyone looking at a women with a sexual undertone or someone pointing certain things at a women which causes discomfort is sexual harassment .
The act was passed in pursuance of guidelines given by Supreme Court in case of Vishakha and others vs State of Rajasthan in year 1997 . In this case the Supreme court acknowledge the gravity of sexual harassment of working women and laid down guidelines making it mandatory for employers to prevent commission of such acts, also India has already signed and ratified convention on elimination of all forms of discrimination against women but we had no domestic law in furtherance of it so this act was also an attempt to fulfill our international obligation .
The act extends to all private as well as public places , it covers school as well as colleges . It also covers the transportation taken and places visited by the employee during course of employment. Hence it is not confined to traditional office setup it goes further to organization , departments , office branches etc.
There was a dire requirement of this act because India was a stereotypical male dominated society where women were made to work under their dominance since ages their work was not given enough credits for the satisfaction of male ego so it was very important that an act should be enacted to given women voices and to realize gender equality at workplaces and to get rid of the hostile environment at work places . This act is also important to protect the fundamental rights guaranteed under article 14, 15, 19(1) (g) and also to realize provisions of article 42.
The act provides the definition of sexual harassment of women at workplace which includes
1. Any physical contacts or advances
2. A demand or request for sexual favours
3. Showing pornography against will of women
4. Making sexually coloured remarks
This act also provides for redressal mechanism hence the redressal must range from apology to censor to withhold promotions and increments and it may even exted to termination ,this act also provides for constitution of an internal committee wherever there will be more than 10 employees, it provides for a local committee at district and block level after the amendment of may 2016.
The committees have to complete the inquiry in 90 days and then send the report to District officer who has to take action in 60 days. The act requires the employees to conduct educational and sensitizational programmes and develop policies amongst other obligations. Apart from all of this the act also provides for safeguard against false allegations or any kind of malicious prosecution so that no one can take undue advantage of this act.
So this act acts as a safety net for the protection and providing women what they most well deserve .The act must be put to judicious use so that women all over the country feel that they can work in a safe and harmonious environment without the prejudice of societal obligations and fears because a country can can achieve its goals only when its overall population comprising of both men and women can work towards its success.