INTRODUCTION- ARTICLE-21 of the constitution of India, which provides the right to life and personal liberty, includes the right to live with dignity, and in the case of women, it means that they must be treated with due respect, decency and dignity at workplace.

With more and more women joining the workforce, both in organized and unorganized sectors, ensuring an enabling working environment for women through legislation became imperative. To achieve this objective the Sexual Harassment at Women of Workplace (Prevention, prohibition and Redressal) Bill was introduced in the Parliament.

Sexual harassment at a workplace is considered violation of women’s right to equality, life and liberty. It creates an insecure and hostile work environment, which discourages women’s participation in work, thereby adversely affecting their social and economic empowerment and the goal of inclusive growth.

The honourable Supreme Court of India in the case of Vishaka versus State of Rajasthan, (1997) 7 SCC 323, also reaffirmed that sexual harassment at workplace is a form of discrimination against women and recognised that it violates the constitutional right to equality and provided guidelines to address this issue pending the enactment of a suitable legislation.

The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Bill having been passed by both the House of Parliament received the assent of the President on 22nd April 2013. It came on the statute book as The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013(14 of 2013) (came into force on 9/12/2013).

AMENDING AND REPEALING ACT, 2016 (with the effect from 6/5/2016).

OBJECTIVE- The main objective of this Act is,

 -To provide protection against sexual harassment of women at workplace; 

-For the prevention and redressal of complaints of sexual harassment and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto;

-Right of Equality to Women (ARTICLE- 14,15, 19(1)(g),21 of the constitution of India);

-International Convention> Elimination of all forms of Discrimination of Women    

(Which was ratified by government of India on 25 June 1993).

CHARACTERISTICS- It is divided into 8 Chapters, which contains 30 sections as follow as below: 

Chapter-1 is the preliminary part which contains,

SECTION-1. This ACT apply in whole of India.    SECTION-2. Definitions.

SECTION-3. According to this Act no women shall be subjected to sexual harassment in workplace includes following > any promise of preferential treatment, any threat of detrimental treatment, interference in work of women, any threat regarding employment, humiliating treatment.

Chapter-2 is the constitution of Internal Complaints Commitee (ICC), SECTION-4.

Chapter-3 is about the constitution of Local Complaints Committee (LCC), SECTION-5-8.

Chapter-4 provides about complaint provisions in SECTION-9-11.

Chapter-5. Inquiry into Complaint,

SECTION-12. Action during pendency of inquiry.

SECTION-13. Is the inquiry report.

SECTION-14. Punishment for false or malicious complaint and false evidence=

Wherever the Local Complaints Committee or the Internal Complaints Committee is satisfied that, there was false complaint or false evidence then, proceeding shall be undertaken-

 -against the complainant,

– against the witness,

 according to service rules. If no such service rules, then as prescribed in manner.

In following matter, no proceeding- complaint unable to provide adequate proof, wherever proceeding under section 14, then respondent must prove that woman had malicious intention.

SECTION-15. Determination of Compensation-

 Aggrieved woman shall be given compensation for following-

 >mental trauma, pain, suffering and emotional distress;

> loss of career opportunity;

> physical or psychiatric treatment (medical expenses); 

>compensation according to income of respondent, 

>lump sum payment in instalments.

SECTION-16 AND 17. Provides prohibition and penalty for the publication or making known contents of complaint and inquiry proceedings.

SECTION-18. Appeal.

Chapter-6. Duties of Employer,

SECTION-19. There are following duties of the employer: Every employer shall-

> provide a safe working environment in workplace;

>In workplace, in conspicuous place show penal consequences of sexual harassment I.e., (Section 509 of Indian Penal Code+ punishment);

> time to time organise workshop and awareness programmes with regular intervals;

>where required provide facility of The Internal Complaints Committee or The Local Complaints Committee;

> ensure respondent and witness appear in front of The Internal Complaints Committee and The Local Complaints Committee;

>make available information to The Internal Complaints Committee or The Local Complaints Committee;

> assist or aid the woman that she lodges complaint in Indian Penal Code or in other law against the offence time being in force;

> immediate action against perpetrator, whether employed or not under Indian Penal Code or in any other law against the offence time being in force; 

*If a person not employed than offence should be in his workplace.

> wherever matter is of sexual harassment then it is considered as misconduct, according to the service rules;

> time to time inspection of the Internal Committees.

Chapter-7. Duties and Powers of District Officer,

SECTION-20. The District Officer shall,

> monitor reports time to time provided by the Local Committee;

>with assistance of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) make awareness relating to the Sexual Harassment and the rights of the women.

Chapter-8. Provides the miscellaneous part, which includes SECTION-21-30.


Apparel Export Promotion Council versus A.K. Chopra (1999)-brought the issue of sexual harassment of women at the workplace. In this matter the apex court held that the action of decency and modesty amounted to the sexual harassment offence, and it is the duty of the employer that he considers the matter with sympathy and see the genuineness of the case. In this case A.K. Chopra the respondent, misused his superiority and tried to harass the female employee.

Vishaka versus State of Rajasthan and Ors.,1997 (7) SC 384-

(Bhanwari Devi Case)- This is the landmark case in the protection of women at workplace from sexual harassment. Bhanwari Devi, was a government employee in Rajasthan. She tried to stop child marriage, but people got outraged, they misbehaved with her, and later gang raped with her.

The Hon. Supreme Court of India held that the sexual harassment at a workplace with the women is the violation of her fundamental rights provided in constitution of India in ARTICLE- 14,15,19, AND 21.

A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) was filed in the Supreme Court in the demand of protect and safeguard to women in working places.

Mukesh & Anr. Verus State for NCT of Delhi & Ors., –

After this incident, penal law was made strong and all the possible amendments which can be made to increase punishment in case of assault of extreme nature and brutality against women. 

Binu Tamta and another versus High Court of Delhi and others-

In this case Hon. Supreme Court asked, to make laws regarding to stop and protection against sexual harassment of women at working places.

CONCLUSION- Sexual Harassment or Offences is a social issue which not only affects women but with that society at large also. It brings gender inequality and discrimination at working places to society. Sexual harassment of women at workplace discriminates the women and makes difficult or hampers women empowerment.

In sexual harassment various things are included in which, such act is also included by which women faces hostile environment.

Wherever matter is of sexual harassment it depends on facts or circumstances of each case.

It is expedient to make provisions for giving effect protection of women against sexual harassment at working places.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *