The Supreme Court of India laid down formal guidelines for dealing with sexual harassment at the workplace in the case of Vishakha Vs. State of Rajasthan. The guidelines clearly state that all workplaces should constitute a Complaint Committee to deal with complaints of sexual harassment. Taking forward the Supreme Court guidelines, “Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013” was enacted which came into force with effect from 9th December 2013.
The Act casts a responsibility on every employer to create an environment which is free from sexual harassment. Employers are required to organize workshops and awareness programmes at regular intervals for sensitizing the employees about the provision of this legislation and display notices regarding the constitution of Internal Committee, penal consequences of sexual harassment etc. An employer will be liable to a fine of Rs 50,000/- in case of violation of his duties under the Act and in case of subsequent violations, the amount of fine will be double together with penalty in the form of cancelation of his licence, withdrawal or non-renewal of the registration required for carrying out his activity.
The Ministry of Women and Child Development had issued advisories to States/UTs to ensure effective implementation of the Act. The Ministries/Departments in Government of India have also been advised to ensure the compliance of the Act.
This information was given by the Union Minister of Women and Child Development, Smt. Maneka Sanjay Gandhi a in written reply to an unstarred question in the Rajya Sabha today.