By Anuradha Gandhi and Isha Sharma
A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) was filed by Biyat Pragya Tripathy, a social activist seeking strict adherence to Section 19 (b) of the Prevention of Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace Act, also known as the POSH Act.
Section 19(B) of the POSH Act outlines the duties of an employer at workplaces to ensure that they create an environment which is free of any discrimination or harassment. It states:
“Every employer shall display at any conspicuous place in the workplace, the penal consequences of sexual harassments; and the order constituting, the Internal Committee under sub-section (1) of Section 4.”
The advocate representing the petitioner contended the implementation of Section 19(b) of the POSH Act as it believes that this action is essentially needed to build up the congenial environment at the work places for the women who are harassed sexually often times by various conducts in the work places.
“Nobody would dissent in accepting that for an equal society and safe society, dignity and safety of the women have to be given priority. The said Act has been designed to achieve such condition in all spaces, particularly in the public places and the work places.”
Order of the Court:
Having appreciated the submissions of the learned counsel for the parties, the two-judge bench of Hon’ble Chief Justice Shri S. Talapatra and Justice Shrimati Savitri Ratho directed all the authorities under the Central Government and State Governments to comply with the direction of Section 19(b) of the POSH Act vide order dated September 15, 2023.
It was further stated that the authorities shall have to place a bill board showing the penal consequences of sexual harassment along with a toll free telephone number and committed phone number be provided so that whenever or wherever the woman perceives threat of sexual harassment or fear of violation of dignity in any manner, she can immediately report for taking action against the incalcitrants.
In terms of the aforementioned, the court highlighted that the said direction shall have to be carried out within a period of three months from the date of order. That is to say, December 15, 2023 was set as the deadline for the government authorities to comply with the direction and accordingly the PIL was disposed of.
This judicial pronouncement marks a significant milestone in fortifying the implementation of POSH regulations and ensuring a robust framework for addressing workplace sexual harassment.
To know more about the initiatives taken the government with regard to the implementation of the POSH Act, kindly refer to our articles: