The trial Court found the accused of the offences in 22 March 2007 and sentenced him to undergo rigorous imprisonment Section 13(2) read with Section 13(1)(d) of the 1988 Act.
The Orissa High Court has issued a warning to both the Central and state governments, cautioning them about the possibility of facing contempt of court proceedings if they fail to comply with the provisions of Section 19(b) of the Sexual Harassment of Women in the Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition, and Redressal) Act.
In response to a petition concerning the non-implementation of legal safeguards to ensure women’s safety in workplaces, a division bench comprising Chief Justice S. Talapatra and Justice Savitri Ratho has ordered that the Court’s directives be put into effect by December 15.
In a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by Biyat Pragya Tripathy, the bench emphasized in its order, “We must underscore that failure to adhere to the aforementioned directives may result in contempt of court proceedings, and this Court will take a stern stance if such violations are reported by any concerned citizen.”
The Orissa High Court had previously instructed government officials and other authorities through an order dated December 7, 2022, to implement the provisions of Section 19(b) of the Sexual Harassment of Women in the Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition, and Redressal) Act, 2013. They were also required to submit a compliance affidavit. However, despite several orders, no significant progress has been made in complying with the court’s directive. The court noted that the government had adopted a lackadaisical approach to implementing Section 19(b) in particular.
Counsels representing both the state and the Centre passionately argued that this action is essential to create a safe and inclusive environment for women who often face sexual harassment in workplaces due to various behaviors. It is widely acknowledged that prioritizing the dignity and safety of women is essential for building an equitable and secure society. The aforementioned Act has been designed to establish such conditions in all settings, particularly in public spaces and workplaces.
The authorities are required to display a billboard outlining the legal consequences of sexual harassment, among other things. In this context, Section 2(o) of the Sexual Harassment of Women in the Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition, and Redressal) Act, which defines the workplace, was cited in the order.
The billboard must include toll-free and dedicated phone numbers so that women who perceive a threat of sexual harassment or a violation of their dignity in any way can promptly report and take action against the perpetrators.