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The Role of Judiciary-Protection For Working Women

The guarantee of equal protection cannot mean one thing when applied to one individual and something else when applied to a person of another color. If both are not accorded the same protection, then it is not equal. – Lewis F. Powell, Jr.*

There are numerous enactments occupying the field pertaining to protection welfare and empowerment of women on account of illiteracy, immortality, radical change in the Indian societies on over all rapid and effective westernization of Indian. The problem relating to women are being mushroomed. The parliament in its part legislated various exclusive statutes to deal with the harassment, cruelty and cases of molestation against women.

India is a country in the world were women regarded as goddess on the other hand the male dominated Indian society apparently lost its cultural beauty and as a result women are subjected to ill-treatment in and out of her house.

Sexual harassment is a serious problem for women workers. There is extensive anecdotal evidence indicating its pervasiveness, but it remains hidden by the veil of silence surrounding the issue.1

In India report suggest that women who report about sexual harassment are victimized and blamed and stigmatized and continuing in the work place are affected. So they seem to be silent of being loosing their job. Urban educated seek legal assistance from women’s group and refuse to reveal the names of those who harass her in the public. Urban educated working women is strong independent person who is aware of her rights under the law the police instead of protecting the rights as citizens worker or women threaten to turn its frightening power against her.

Local community assistants will not be obtainable and it will be firmly in favor of the boys. So in this context we are forced to ask under what economic and social condition does the directions given by the supreme court will be use full to the working women. So when no effective legal or social redress is any longer available no rules and regulations cannot provide any help. Sexual Harassment of women at the workplace as not considered as specific offence till the time Apex court of India gave the land mark judgment in Vishakha V State of Rajasthan laying down specific guidelines and giving directions to employers to have sexual harassment policy in the workplace and to consider sexual harassment as a serious offence.

What Law says?
Indian penal code defines sexual harassment as any word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a women and which is heard or seen is an offence and is punishable with simple imprisonment and/or a fine. Prior to 1997 Sexual harassment was dealt with section 354, 509 of IPC, the sections did not specifically define the act, words are gestures which amounts to the offence of sexual harassment it was left to the whims and fancies of the person deciding the case. In 1997 in the realm of judicial interpretation the object sexual harassment women of working women was named and defined in Vishakha. and others v. union of India.3

The Vishakha ruling noted the lack of existing civil and penal laws for the specific protection of women from sexual harassment at places of work. In the absence of appropriate legislation, the Court took a proactive stand by issuing a set of guidelines to be followed by all institutions until appropriate legislation was enacted. 4 Though Honorable supreme court gave directions to curb the offence of sexual harassment of women in workplace the legislation came up after 16 years of above mentioned Judgment. In 2013 Sexual Harassment of Women at work Place (Prevention, prohibition and Redressal Act was passed). 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 to this statute.The government has threatened to take stern action against employers who fail to comply with this law.

Sexual harassment results in violation of fundamental rights of a women to equality under Art 14 and 15 of the constitution of India and her right to life and to live with dignity under article 21 of the constitution and right to practice any profession or to carry on any occupation trade or business which includes the right to safe environment free from sexual harassment. This Act talks about different ways in which someone can be sexually harassed and how they can complaint against this kind of behaviour. The definition of aggrieved women who will get protection and the Act is wider to cover all women irrespective of the age or employment status whether in organized or unorganized sectors public or private and covers clients, customers and domestic workers penalties have been prescribed for employers.

For any sexual harassment law to be successful in India, it is important to be aware of the difficulties confronting our society and ways to over come them. We all know that India is a patriarchal society and most cases of sexual harassment remain and reported. Women are reluctant to compliant and prefer silence due to lack of sensitivity on the part of Indian society. There is a need to gender – sensitize our society so that victim does not feel guilty and is encouraged to report any form of harassment. The victims privacy must be protected. The police and judiciary in particular need to be gender sensitized. There should be speedy reddresal and an increase in the conviction rate.

Women themselves should be made aware of the right to a safe and harassment free work environment. The concept and definition of sexual harassment should be clearly laid down and the reddresal mechanism made known to women in each and every sector of the economy. Despite the judgment in Vishakha case.6 and the new legislation there is no sexual harassment committee in work places so the court must direct the work places to form sexual harassment committee. Government can order an officer to inspect work place and record related to sexual harassment in any organization.

Enacting progressive laws will not change the situation. The efficacy of law will be under mined ‘blaming the victim’ in cases of sexual harassment or not transformed. Women cannot expect legal or police protection if the authorities assume ‘guilt or moral laxity’on the part of women complaints so it is time to go be on ideology and theory in the world of praxis, the world of greater hardship for women who sacrifices their identity communication and hopes in society dominated by male values so what is needed is recognition of ‘ women’s equal humanity.7

Though the Act has its own loopholes it brought about a paradigm shift in the work culture of work places. The Act created the healthy and safe environment for women to work and be successful. The employers by adhering to the sexual harassment act and by enacting a policy for the organization and company can bring a tremendous change in the work place by curbing the offence of sexual harassment training the employees and spreading the legal awareness employees can do away with numerous cases which often or ignore by the employers or were women prefer leaving the job because of the social taboos or pressure. Only if we educate and empower women our country can progress.

But in the present day context, the human rights violations are taking place especially with reference to women all over the country. To sustain gender equality and empowerment of women both at the national and international level, committed initiatives and policies are needed. If everyone involved does the their bit then the menace of sexual harassment can be rooted out completely from all our work places.

Their insecurity and violence facilitated by a lack of justice or legal frame work prevents women’s participation in rebuilding the nations. The sense of security at the workplace will improve women’s participation in work, resulting in their economic empowerment and intensive growth. I wish this paper will derive practical solutions in the existing scenario.


1. Women and criminal law Dr. SC Tripathi.
2. http/www flonnet com/fl1502/15021340.htm.
3. Constitutional development through Judicial process by Prof. G. Manoher Rao.
4. http//www/people
5. constitutional Development through Judicial Process 2006 Edition.
6. AIR 1977 SC 3011.
7. https/

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