The Vishakha judgment, an offshoot of a rape case involving a social worker in Rajasthan, brought to the attention of the Supreme Court of India that there was an urgent need to formulate effective measures to check the evil of sexual harassment of working women at all workplaces. Vishakha guidelines are the procedural guidelines for sexual harassment at workplace and have now been codified into a separate act and in IPC provisions. The guidelines can be summed up as follows:

  • Definition of sexual harassment to include unwelcomed sexually unacceptable behaviour, physical contact and advances, demand or request for sexual favours, showing pornography and any sexually coloured remark.

  • Every instance of sexual harassment is a violation of Articles 14, 15 and 21 of the Indian Constitution.

  • Any discrimination on personal reasons resulting in hostile working environment is not acceptable.

  • Creation of hostile environment by physical advances or any other act amounts to sexual harassment.

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