Supreme Court frowns upon ‘trend’ of acquittals in workplace sex misconduct cases on hyper-technical grounds

What is the News?

The Supreme Court has expressed concern over a rising trend of courts invalidating proceedings into sexual misconduct at a working place on “hyper-technical” grounds.

What was the issue?

A constable at the Border Security Force had accused the head constable of sodomising (any form of the sexual act) in 2006.

However, the Calcutta High Court had quashed the proceedings against the head constable on the grounds that a commandant of the Border Security Force, who had sought additional record evidence while carrying out the disciplinary proceedings, did not have the jurisdiction to do so.

What did the Supreme Court say on this?

The Supreme Court has set aside the order of the Calcutta High Court.

The court observed that the right against sexual harassment is vested in all persons as a part of their right to life and right to dignity under Article 21 of the Constitution. 

Hence, it is important that the spirit of this right is upheld instead of rejecting sexual harassment complaints on “hyper-technical” grounds. 

For instance, the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition, and Redressal) Act 2013 penalizes several misconducts of a sexual nature and imposes a mandate on all public and private organizations to create adequate mechanisms for redressal. 

However, if the courts dismiss petitions on technical grounds, then the legislation may not come to the aid of persons aggrieved of sexual harassment.

Must Read: Sexual Harassment of women at the workplace – Explained pointwise

Source: This post is based on the article “Supreme Court frowns upon ‘trend’ of acquittals in workplace sex misconduct cases on hyper-technical grounds” published by TOI on 4th December 2021.

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