New Delhi, Oct. 19 (PTI): The Supreme Court today directed all regulatory bodies, such as the Bar Council of India and the Medical Council of India, to set up a committee to deal with sexual harassment at the workplace.
The court directed the bodies and institutions affiliated to them to implement the guidelines framed in its 1997 Vishaka judgment in two months.
The order came on a PIL filed by Medha Kalwal Lele, asking for the ambit of the 1997 verdict to be expanded.
In 1997, the court had framed guidelines to handle cases of sexual harassment in the workplace in government departments and PSUs. The guidelines said it was the duty of the employer or other responsible persons in a workplace to prevent or deter sexual harassment.
The guidelines said rules prohibiting sexual harassment at the workplace should be notified, published and circulated and should provide for penalties against the offenders.
Private employers, too, were asked to include the express prohibition of sexual harassment in their standing orders.
The guidelines asked organisations to ensure sexual harassment victims or witnesses are not victimised or discriminated against when they make a complaint.
A Complaint Committee, to be headed by a woman and with half of its members women, was recommended to be set up to deal with sexual harassment cases. The court said the panel should involve a third party, either NGO or any other outfit familiar with sexual harassment, to prevent the possibility of undue pressure or influence from senior levels.