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Vishaka Judgement

Vishaka Judgement
Highlights

It is being reported that the government sat Supreme Court Collegium recommendation to elevate a district judge in Karnataka as a High Court Judge as...

It is being reported that the government sat Supreme Court Collegium recommendation to elevate a district judge in Karnataka as a High Court Judge as the Judge is allegedly facing sexual harassment allegations and that the Vishaka guidelines, mandated by the Supreme Court to be followed at all workplaces, are not followed in their letter and spirit. The victim alleged that a proper inquiry was not conducted in her case against the judge.

As Zia Mody says in her book, Ten Judgements that Changed India, "Judicial activism reached its pinnacle in Vishakha Vs State of Rajasthan." The judgment was unprecedented for several reasons: the Supreme Court provided the first authoritative decision of 'sexual harassment' in India; and confronted with a statutory vacuum, it went creative and proposed the route of 'judicial legislation'.

The Vishakha judgment was an offshoot of a rape case involving a social worker in Rajasthan. It laid down the requirements for employers dealing with complaints of sexual assault and stipulated the formation of committees to dispose of complaints from victims of harassment.

Some general points about the judgement: Below are some of the general points of the Vishakha judgment: Gender equality includes protection from sexual harassment and the right to work with dignity as per our constitution.

Extra hazard for a working woman compared her male colleague is clear violation of the fundamental rights of Gender Equality& Right to Life and Liberty. Safe working environment is fundamental right of a working woman.In no way should working women be discriminated at the workplace against male employees. Working with full dignity is the fundamental right of working women.

The right to work as an inalienable right of all working women. The Vishakha judgment had recommended a Complaints Committee at all workplaces, headed by a woman employee, with not less than half of its members being women. All complaints of sexual harassment by any woman employee would be directed to this committee.

This is significant because an immediate supervisor may also be the perpetrator. The committee advises the victim on further course of action and recommends to the management the course of action against the man accused of harassment.

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