February 15, 2024

In our culture, women and children are considered to be the most vulnerable groups, thus protecting their rights is crucial. A society’s ability to flourish is frequently gauged by how well it treats these groups. Women are more vulnerable to the phenomena of sexual harassment of women as a whole and workplace harassment in particular. To protect their interests, a strong mechanism against the same is essential.

vishaka case summary

Vishaka Case Facts:

  • In the case of vishaka v state of rajasthan, Bhanwari Devi was a social activist and worker in a village in Rajasthan. She was employed by the state government of Rajasthan to oversee and implement a social development program at the rural level that aimed to end child marriage in the area.
  • Bhanwari Devi pledged to prevent the marriage of the Ramkaran Gujjars’ (thakurs) infant daughter, who was little under a year old.
  • Bhanwari Devi attempted to dissolve her young daughter’s marriage as part of her responsibility.
  • Despite her fruitless attempts to break up the marriage, it did go through, however, Bhanwari Devi was not absolved or forgiven for this transgression.
  • She faced social disapproval or was the target of a boycott.
  • In front of her husband, Ramkaran Gujjar and his five buddies sexually assaulted her in a gang in September 1992.
  • Her age was verified by the male doctor at the regular main health center, but the Jaipur doctor’s medical report contained no indication that she had been sexually raped.
  • The policeman advised her to leave her lehnga as proof of the occurrence and return to her village after she had been harassed by as many women as possible for the entirety of midnight at the police station.
  • They were forced to spend the entire night in the police station because she was left with nothing to wrap her body in save her husband’s bloodstained dhoti.
  • The defendants were released by the Trial Court due to their lack of guilt.
  • The High Court stated in its ruling that the rape was committed by a group and was motivated by retaliation. These remarks and rulings incited women and non-governmental organizations to file public interest lawsuits (PILs) with the Indian Supreme Court.

Vishaka Case Issues:

Whether or whether it is required to implement regulations to stop sexual harassment of women at work.

vishaka case judgment:

  • The Vishaka judgment was passed on 13th August, 1997 by a three-judge bench comprising of Chief Justice J.S. Verma, Justice Sujata V. Manohar and Justice B.N. Kirpal.
  • The Supreme Court ruled that harassment in the workplace clearly violates Articles 14, 15, 19, (1)(g), and 21 of the Indian Constitution which protects women’s fundamental rights.
  • Women should not be subjected to sexual harassment at work, and in order to prevent harassment and discrimination, a separate code should be created.
  • Any unsolicited physical, verbal, or non-verbal activity of a sexual nature, including but not limited to physical contact, demanding sexual favors, displaying pornography, making sexually suggestive statements, making sexual gestures, or passing sexual is how the Honorable Supreme Court defined sexual harassment, providing a broader definition for the term.
  • The Vishaka Guidelines were created to stop women from being sexually harassed at work.

vishaka guidelines

The Vishakha Guidelines are a set of rules that the court released to eliminate sexual harassment in the workplace. The following are the provisions outlined in the Vishaka Guidelines:

  • The employer, business, or other responsible parties have an obligation to stop sexual harassment at work.
  • Among the acts of sexual harassment are:
  • Advances and Physical Contact
  • requesting sex services
  • remarks with a sexual undertone
  • Putting pornography on display
  • Any additional unwanted sexually suggestive behavior, whether verbal, physical, or nonverbal.
  • All employers, whether in the public or private sectors, must abide by these rules.
  • Employers must set up a strong system to handle sexual crime prosecutions.
  • It is important to make sure that victims are not subjected to prejudice as a result of this complaint.
  • It was determined that information on sexual harassment in the workplace ought to be gathered, shared, and reported.
  • Any harassment will be appropriately addressed, with disciplinary action and criminal prosecution following.
  • Employers are required to establish a complaints committee in order to handle sexual harassment allegations promptly.
  • Half of the complaints committee’s members must be female, and a woman should serve as its chair.
  • Employers have an obligation to inform staff members of the Vishakha standards.
  • It is best to involve a third party, like an NGO, in order to prevent pressure from upper management at work.
  • Employers can use these principles as a framework to prevent and address complaints of sexual harassment and to ensure that women work in a safe workplace.
  •  These rules were superseded by the Sexual Harassment of Women at Work (Prevention, Prohibition, and Redressal) Act of 2013.

India’s development goals are much nearer to being accomplished, and the number of working women has increased. It is essential to recognize women’s right to be shielded from sexual harassment in order to uphold their human rights. Getting women’s autonomy, equality of opportunity, and the right to decent employment is a positive step toward achieving all of this.

The systemic issue of sexual harassment in the workplace must be addressed. Raising awareness of the various types of sexual harassment that can happen at work, as well as the legal justification for taking preventative measures, is vital for both employers and employees.

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