Sexual Harassment at Workplace – UPSC GS1

Innovative Step:
Central government has launched an online complaint management system called “Sexual Harassment electronic-Box (SHe-Box)’ for registering complaints related to sexual harassment at workplace
Vishaka case guideline- Key features
  • It mentioned that it is the duty of the employer or other responsible persons in work places or other institutions to prevent or deter the commission of acts of sexual harassment and to provide the procedure for the resolution, settlement or prosecution of acts of sexual harassment by taking all steps required.
  • It also provided with the range to behaviour that would be termed as sexual harassment, which includes such unwelcome sexually determined behaviour (whether directly or implication) as :-
    • physical contact and advances;
    • a demand or request for sexual favours;
    • sexually coloured remarks;
    • showing pornography;
    • any other unwelcome physical, verbal or non-verbal conduct of sexual nature.
  • It also provided with Complaints mechanism by stating that-
    • All workplaces should have an appropriate complaints mechanism with a complaints committee, special counsellor or other support services.
    • A woman must head the complaints committee and no less than half its members should be women.
    • The committee should include an NGO/individual familiar with the issue of sexual harassment.
    • The complaints procedure must be time-bound.
    • Confidentiality must be maintained.
    • Complainants/witnesses should not experience victimization/discrimination during the process.


Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act 2013

This act was enacted in April 2013 as India’s first law dealing with the protection of women against sexual harassment at workplace. Some important feature of this act are as follows:

  • This Act aimed to provide every woman, irrespective of her age or employment status, a safe and secure working environment free from all forms of harassment.
  • This Act covered both the organized and unorganized sectors in India. The statute applied to all government bodies, private and public sector organizations, non-governmental organizations, organizations carrying out commercial, vocational, educational, entertainment, industrial, financial activities, hospitals etc.
  • This Act defined ‘sexual harassment’ in line with the Supreme Court’s definition in the Vishaka Judgment.
  • The Act extended the meaning of the word sexual harassment to include “presence or occurrence of circumstances of implied or explicit promise of preferential treatment in employment, threat of detrimental treatment in employment, threat about present or future employment, interference with work or creating an intimidating or offensive or hostile work environment, or humiliating treatment likely to affect the lady employee’s health or safety could also amount to sexual harassment”.
  • The Act also introduced the concept of ‘extended workplace’ since sexual harassment is not always confined to the primary place of employment. Therefore, the Act defined ‘workplace’ to include any place visited by the employee arising out of or during the course of employment, including transportation provided by the employer for the purpose of commuting to and from the place of employment.
  • The Act provided for the establishment of Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) at each and every office or branches of the organization employing 10 or more employees, in order to provide a forum for filing complaints to facilitate fast redressal of the grievances pertaining to sexual harassment.
  • It also provided for the establishment of local complaints committee (LCC) at the district level by the Government to investigate and redress complaints of sexual harassment of the unorganized sector or from those establishments where the ICC has not been constituted for the reason being, it having less than 10 employees.


Apathy of authorities
  • Lack of initiative on the part of government authorities to monitor the implementation and enforce the law.
  • The government at the State level has not even bothered to appoint district officers or local committees under the 2013 Act.
  • There are no appointments of nodal officers or internal complaints committees in certain offices.
  • There has been no move to ensure the reporting and collection of annual compliance reports from workplaces. Hence, the law meant to protect working women has hit a roadblock.



1 thought on “Sexual Harassment at Workplace – UPSC GS1”

  1. any 1 knows..
    whn Prarthna samaj was found?
    spectrum is writing: 1863 with the help of Keshav Chandra Sen
    WIKI: Prarthana Samaj was founded by Atmaram Pandurang with the help of Keshav Chandra Sen in 1867
    NIOS Notes: 1876
    plz ans..

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