DB directives in PIL seeking implementation of sexual harassment of women at workplace Act 2013

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[ July 08, 2017 ] Jammu, JULY-08-2017-(JNF):- ):- In a Public Interest Litigation filed by Adv Rajeshwari Katoch seeking implementation of Sexual Harassment of Women at workplace Act 2013.A Division Bench of State High Court Comprising Justice Alok Aradhe and Justice Sanjeev Kumar after hearing both the sides observed that this Court on 17.04.2017 as well as 15.05.2017 had granted time to Mr. Vishal Bharti, learned Dy. AG to file an affidavit indicating that whether the Act is implemented and to what extent it has been implemented in the State of Jammu and Kashmir. However, when the matter was taken up today, learned Dy. AG prays for two weeks" time so as to enable him to file short affidavit. We grant him four weeks" time to file affidavit failing which bailable warrants shall be issued against the Secretary Ministry of Social Welfare. In the PIL it has been submitted that gender based harassment of women at workplace leads to violation of their Fundamental right to Equality under Articles 14 and 15 , Right to life and live with dignity under Article 21 and Right to practise any profession or to carry out any occupation under Article 19(g) . “Harassment at workplace is a special type of crime and general penal provisions cannot deal with them” , opined Supreme Court and thus in the absence of any special legislation to deal with the issue , Supreme Court in Visakha versus State of Rajasthan , while disposing off many similar Petitions , laid the Guidelines to deal with the menace of gender based harassment of women at workplace , which under Article 141 of the Constitution , were to be treated as binding law . Thereafter matters relating to harassment at workplaces were dealt under these guidelines and many notable judgments delivered by Supreme Court and the High Courts . And after sixteen years , Parliament of India passed Sexual Harassment of women at workplace Act 2013 , which is almost a replica of Visakha guidelines . This Act extends to the whole of India including the State of J&K . Petitioner through some research could find that this Act has not fully been implemented in J&K despite the fact that we hear of many gender harassment cases in our State . Adv Rajeshwari Katoch seeking direction to Union of India to direct all Central Govt. establishments in the State including Banking institutions to constitute Internal Complaints Committees under Sexual Harassment of Women at workplace Act , 2013 and also seeks directions to State to direct all Deputy Commissioners in the State of J&K to constitute Local Complaints Committees , under the said Act in their respective Districts and to initiate steps for getting the ICCs constituted in each workplace employing more than ten workers , including the industrial units , within the State jurisdiction.