Complainant should be given details of action taken: HC

The Bombay High Court has,in a recent order,said a woman making a complaint about harassment at her workplace should be given details of action taken against the accused.

Written by NEERAD PANDHARIPANDE | Published: July 17, 2012 4:19:13 am

The Bombay High Court has,in a recent order,said a woman making a complaint about harassment at her workplace should be given details of action taken against the accused.

This was in response to a petition filed by a Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) employee who claimed that she was harassed by a superior officer and subsequently threatened by other officers against making a complaint.

The woman,a sub-inspector,claimed that she was sexually harassed by her superior in May 2007 when posted in Bangalore. She said in her petition that a complaints committee was convened over a year after the incident but it did not issue a report for four years.

The CISF lawyer contended that the main accused in the case was initially handed out a punishment of compulsory retirement,which was later reduced to deduction of a month’s salary. However,the petitioner said only the report pertaining to the main accused was made available to her and not three others against whom she had made allegations.

“The petitioner was subjected to multiple sexually coloured remarks and unwelcome verbal conduct of a sexual nature directed at her by two superiors,” her plea stated. It said while the main accused explicitly suggested her infidelity and sexual promiscuity to several of her colleagues,another superior coerced her into discussing her personal gynaecological problems with him. She claimed that her superiors created a hostile work environment for her after she made a complaint.

Responding to the petition,a division bench of Justices D Y Chandrachud and R D Dhanuka said,“It is not enough that action is taken (by the department),the complainant must be satisfied that action has been taken.” They also rued that such incidents at workplaces are “rampant.”

The court has now directed the CISF to provide the full report of action taken against officers within four weeks.

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