Lokawaaz, February 24,2022:
Shri Anoop Kumar Mendiratta, Union Law Secretary, while addressing the women officers/officials of Department of Legal Affairs, highlighted that the sexual harassment at workplace is the violation of the Fundamental Rights under Article 14, 21 of the Constitution. Until and unless the women come out and open, it will be difficult to bring in changes in attitudes. There are various challenges attached to it and the first step entails talking and writing the incident/complaint to the Complaints Committee. Cyber Crime has also opened a new way of sexual harassment which is a huge challenge. Law Secretary pointed out the provisions under the I.P.C. that cover crimes relating to women.
Ms. Aishwaraya Bhati, Ld. Additional Solicitor General of India felt privileged being at the Department and discussed about the Bhawari Devi case and the way the Vishaka PIL was filed in the Supreme Court. She articulated that patriarchy has no gender. Further, the issue sexual harassment at work place gained visibility and a definite momentum specially in the light of the guidelines passed by the Supreme Court in the matter of Vishaka and Others vs. State of Rajasthan in August, 1997. These guidelines gave sexual harassment a legal definition describing what forms of conduct actually constitute sexual harassment.
Dr. Reeta Vasishta, Secretary, Legislative Department highlighted that the law be implemented in Letter & Spirit. The Complaints Committee should play an active and positive role in its implementation for safer work place for women.
This was followed by an interactive session moderated by Dr. Anju Rathi Rana, Additional Secretary on the Law with various activities like ‘Chuppi Tod’ and asked the participants to share one good point in their work place and one area in their work place which they wish to change so as to make it safe and secure. There was a demand to hold such session on frequent intervals.