In the case of Vishaka V. State of Rajasthan, the Supreme Court held that harassment of women at the workplace was violative of Article 19 (1) (g), Article 21 and Article 14 of the constitution and the court gave guidelines which were to be treated as law until an Act was made.
It is applicable to establishments where 10 or more employees were employed.
Though there were these guidelines which were available according to the International Labour Organisation these were not implemented and hence, Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition & Redressal) Act, 2013 was enacted which superseded the Vishakha Guidelines.
It has a very wide application and shall be applied to women who are employed in the organised, the unorganised, public or private sector also includes domestic workers and covers clients, customers as well. However, this Act does not cover women employed in the Armed forces.
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This Act includes all women employed in the workplace, visiting it or dwelling on it. The employment can be for remuneration or voluntary, can be regular or ad hoc, direct or through an agent, apprenticeships, contractual or probationary.
The place of employment under this act include government offices, companies, corporations or co-operatives, private sector establishments, NGOs, hospitals, transportation provided by the employer, unorganized sector establishments etc.
Sexual harassment includes physical contact, inappropriate advances, ordering sexual favours, showing pornography, stalking, humiliating, any verbal or non-verbal inappropriate and sexual remark etc.
- Under this act, every employer must constitute an Internal Complaint committee that is open to receiving such reports from aggrieved women.
- Another provision states that there must be a Local Complaint Committee in every district that may entertain all complaints from establishments that do not have internal committees due to having less than 10 employees.
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