On 13th August 1997, the Supreme Court of India held that sexual harassment of women is a violation of the fundamental right of women to work in a safe environment. The Supreme Court has defined 'sexual harassment' to include: Any one or more of the following acts or behaviour (whether directly or by implication), namely:
– physical contact and advances;
– demand or request for sexual favours;
– Sexually oriented remarks
– Showing pornography
– Use of electronic media (phone, internet, intranet) for perpetrating any of the above
– Any other unwelcome physical, verbal or non-verbal conduct of a sexual nature
The following circumstances, among other circumstances, if it occurs or is present in relation to or connected with any act or behaviour of sexual harassment may amount to sexual harassment:
– implied or explicit promise of preferential treatment in employment;
– implied or explicit threat of detrimental treatment in employment;
– implied or explicit threat about her present or future employment status;
– interference with her work or creating an intimidating or offensive or hostile work
– environment for her;
– Humiliating treatment likely to affect her health or safety.
Often such behaviour goes unpunished because of hesitation on the part of women to report such behaviour out of a sense of shame or fear or both. It is important for women to protest against any behaviour that they feel is unwanted and unacceptable.
The ICC of KES will shoulder the responsibility with the aim of providing women an appropriate complaint mechanism against unwelcome sexually determined behavior whether directly or by implication.
The action can be taken against the offender by ICC_KES is as per the CCS (Conduct) Rules, 1964 and the Inquiry Report under the rules. In case, it has been proved that the offender has indulged in sexual harassment at the work place, appropriate disciplinary action would be taken against him. Where such conduct amounts to a specific offense under the Indian Penal Code or under any other law, a complaint shall be filed with the appropriate authority for action to be taken in accordance with the law.