The act was passed in pursuance of Vishakha guidelines given by Supreme court.
In the case Vishakha and others v. State of Rajasthan, 1997 the Supreme court
acknowledged the gravity of sexual harassment of working women and laid down
guidelines, making it mandatory for employers to prevent occurrence of such
India had already signed Convention on Elimination of all forms of
discrimination against women, (CEDAW) but had no domestic law in furtherance of
it. So,, this was to assimilate the international obligation in Indian legal
- The act extends to private as well as public places
- It covers schools as well as colleges.
- It do covers the transportation taken and places visited by employee
during the course of employment.
- The act also extents to the Army men, as decided by the Armed forces
In order to ensure the gender equality at workplaces this act came in force
moreover iit is very important to tap a vast source of human capital. The act
was also required to get rid of the hostile environment at workplaces. The act
was also required to protect fundamental rights under article 14 which talks
about equality before law, article 15 which says that there shall be no
discrimination on the basis of caste, creed, race, colour, sex, etc, article
19(1)(g) which gives a right to carry out any profession, it (the act) do
directs the state to provide just and human conditions at workplace under
article 42 of the constitution
Main Features Of The Act
The act provides us with the definition of sexual harassment, the definition
shall include: i) Any physical contact and advances ( ii) Any demand or request
for sexual favours, (iii) Showing pornographic content against the will of the
women (iv) making sexually coloured remarks. Any of the practises mentioned
would be considered as a sexual harassment act.
In the case "Vishaka vs. State of Rajasthan and Ors
." it was held by Supreme
Court that the sexual harassment of a woman at a workplace would be violative of
her fundamental rights of gender equality and right to life and liberty under
Articles 14, 15, 19 and 21 of the Indian Constitution. The court concluded that
such Act would be considered as a violation of women�s human rights.
Cases Laws Related To Sexual Harassment
- Shanta Kumar v. Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CDIR) & Ors,
Delhi High Court ((2018) 156 FLR 719)
- K.P. Anil Rajagopal v. State of Kerela, Kerela High Court ((2018) 1 KLJ 106)
- Gaurav Jain v. Hindustan Latex Family Planning Promotion Trust and Ors. (2015
SCC OnLine Del 11026)
- Jaya Kodate v. Rashtrasant Tukdoji Maharaj Nagpur University (2014 SCC OnLine
- Shital Prasad Sharma v. State of Rajasthan and Ors. (2018 SCC OnLine Raj
- Sarita Verma v. New Delhi Municipal Corporation & Ors, (2016 LLR 785 (2))
- Ruchika Singh Chhabra v. Air France India and Anr. (2018 SCC Online Del 9340)
- Shital Prasad Sharma v. State of Rajasthan and Ors. (2018 SCC OnLine Raj 1676
Analysis And Interpretation
POSH Act is still at a budding stage, the above mentioned cases help us clarify
the laws related to the sexual harassment at workplace. Many of these cases do
help the Indian legal system who are required to investigate complaints.
Sexual harassment allegations in the workplace do risk of loss of employer's
reputation but also lead to legal troubles too. Sexual harassment at workplace
continues to remain one of the most sensitive issues that needs to be dealt with
immense care and sensitively. As said by the Bombay High Court, employers need
to be concerned with the safety of women at workplace rather than staging a
farce of compliance under the POSH Act.
Written By: Anirudh Gupta