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Supreme Court notice to Centre, states on anti-sexual harassment law

IANS | New Delhi |

The Supreme Court on Thursday issued a notice to the central and state governments and union territory administrations on a plea seeking proper implementation of a 2013 law to prevent and prohibit sexual harassment of women at workplaces.

The bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice A.M. Khanwilkar and Justice D.Y. Chandrachud, issued notice on a public interest litigation by NGO Initiatives for Inclusion Foundation seeking implementation of the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition, Redressal) Act, 2013.

Senior lawyer Sanjay Parikh, who appeared for the NGO represented by its trustees Pallavi Pareek and Esha Shekhar, told the court that the mechanism provided under the law for curbing sexual harassment at workplaces has not been created entirely.

The entire edifice that is required to enforce the law includes internal complaint committee in each organisation be it a government body or a private entity, setting up of local complaint committee (LCC), designation of a District Magistrate as a district officer to exercise powers under the Act, and the appointment of nodal officers, he said.

The 2013 Act provides for the appointment of nodal officers in every block, taluka and tehsil in rural or tribal areas and ward or municipality in urban areas, to receive complaints and forward the same to the LCC concerned.

Parikh said that though four years have passed since Parliament passed the Bill, the entire structure that has to operationalise it remains non-functional.