Delhi HC: PoSH Act applies across different departments

The court stated that the act isn’t restricted to cases where a female employee is sexually harassed by another employee within the same office


In a recent ruling, the Delhi High Court determined that the sexual harassment of women at workplace Act, 2013, also called the PoSH Act, applies to the person accused even if they work in different departments. The court emphasised that the Act can be invoked even if the alleged offender is employed in a different department.

The court acknowledged that as women are achieving professional success on par with men, there can be no compromise on the objectives of the PoSH Act. Therefore, the panel consisting of Justice C Hari Shankar and Justice Manoj Jain stated that the PoSH Act does not restrict its applicability solely to cases where a female employee is sexually harassed by another employee within the same office. 

The decision was made by the Court in response to a petition filed by Dr. Sohail Malik, an officer of the Indian Revenue Service (IRS), challenging a meeting notice issued by the internal complaints committee (ICC). The notice was issued after a complaint was filed by an officer of the Indian Administrative Service (IAS), accusing Malik of sexual harassment.

Initially, Dr. Sohail Malik had challenged the notice before the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT). However, the CAT rejected Malik’s plea.

The court emphasised that any interpretation of the provisions of the Act that undermines or hinders the complete achievement and implementation of its objectives must be firmly rejected.

Moreover, as per the observations made by the court, the workplace should provide a safe and secure environment for women, just as it does for men. Even a woman’s apprehension about her safety being compromised or endangered at work is completely unacceptable according to our constitutional principles.

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