sexual harassment at workplace and the vishakha guidelines
New Delhi: Sexual assault charges against former Tehelka editor, Tarun Tejpal, has yet again brought to the fore the need for organisations to abide by laws and respond swiftly to the situation.
In this case, however, the organisation in question did not even have a committee to probe into such matters as stipulated by the law.
The victim of the alleged sexual assault has in an email to former managing editor Shoma Choudhary urged that the publication establish an in-house cell to tackle cases of sexual harassment at the workplace, as per the requirements of the ‘Vishakha judgment'.
It was in 1997 when the Supreme Court of India laid down formal guidelines for dealing with sexual harassment at the workplace following the gang rape of a social worker, Bhanwari Devi from Bhateri in Rajasthan.
According to reports, despite a long legal battle that ensued, Bhanwari Devi did not get justice and led to women's rights group – Vishakha – filing public interest litigation (PIL) in the Supreme Court.
The petition, filed by the women's right group Vishaka and four other women's organisations in Rajasthan against the State of Rajasthan and the Union of India, resulted in what are popularly known as the Vishaka Guidelines.