Despite SC rulings, ‘MeToo’ had to surface in India to shame ‘predators’

Some brave ladies reporters took to social media to catalogue their agonising reviews with seniors. This desi ‘MeToo’ campaign for dignity and appreciate at the workplace has jolted the moral Richter scale, which had remained indulgently quiet by adopting a ‘see and hear the whole thing yet do nothing’ approach in opposition to ‘predators’.

When actress Tanushree Dutta complained of sexual harassment, maximum kept quiet as it is surprisingly ingrained in us that ‘this stuff occur in Bollywood’. No one seen her as the Indian version of Ashley Judd nor in comparison Nana Patekar with Harvey Weinstein. But her defiant act of going public together with her grievance appears to have induced a torrent of posts by ladies reporters on social media with ‘evidence’. It left no choice to the ‘predators’ but to apologise, make excuses of being inebriated or just feign a ‘memory fade’.

Will this campaign emasculate doable and present ‘predators’? Will it rein in their libido and substitute it with a tradition of respecting ladies? Hard to predict, for two landmark judgments of the Supreme Court delivered within the 1990s, which threatened male employees with prosecution for any form of sexual harassment of female colleagues, and a 2013 regulation have failed to drive behavioural change in ‘predators’.

The first of the 2 was Vishaka judgment (AIR 1997 SC 3011), delivered on August 13, 1997. The first sentence of the judgment, by a bench of then CJI J S Verma and Justices Sujata V Manohar and B N Kirpal, learn, “The provide petition has been brought as a category action by positive social activists and NGOs with the purpose of focussing consideration in opposition to this societal aberration, and helping find suitable methods for realisation of the real concept of ‘gender equality’, and to forestall sexual harassment of working ladies in all workplaces via judicial procedure, to fill the vacuum in present regulation.”

The petition was about workplace hazards faced by Bhanwari Devi, a Rajasthan government worker beneath the ladies’s building programme, who was sexually assaulted for attempting to forestall rampant kid marriage in society.

The SC had said, “The incident unearths the dangers to which a working woman is also exposed and the depravity to which sexual harassment can degenerate, and the urgency for safeguards by an alternate mechanism within the absence of legislative measures. In the absence of legislative measures, the need is to seek out an effective alternative mechanism to fulfil this felt and urgent social want.”

It laid down elaborate pointers to proscribe and prosecute ‘predators’ who sexually harassed female employees. “Gender equality comprises protection from sexual harassment and right to work with dignity, which is a universally recognised fundamental human right,” it said.

Less than two years later, a bench of then CJI A S Anand and Justice V N Khare delivered another landmark judgment on January 20, 1999, in Apparel Export Promotion Council vs A Ok Chopra (AIR 1999 SC 625). In the backdrop of Vishaka case pointers, the SC framed a couple of extra questions to broaden the contours of sexual harassment.

“Does an action of the superior in opposition to a feminine worker which is in opposition to moral sanctions and does no longer resist the check of decency and modesty no longer quantity to sexual harassment? Is physical touch with the feminine worker an essential factor of this sort of price? Does the allegation that the superior ‘attempted to molest’ a feminine worker at the ‘administrative center’ no longer constitute an act unbecoming of excellent behavior and behaviour anticipated from the superior,” it asked.

Upholding the dismissal of A Ok Chopra from the activity of personal secretary to the Council chairman for time and again touching ‘Miss X’ inappropriately, Justice Anand had said, “Any action or gesture, whether immediately or by implication, objectives at or has the tendency to outrage the modesty of a feminine worker should fall beneath the overall concept of the definition of sexual harassment... There is not any gainsaying that each and every incident of sexual harassment at the administrative center results in violation of the basic right to gender equality and the correct to existence and liberty — the 2 Most worthy fundamental rights guaranteed by the Constitution of India.”


On June 25, 1993, India ratified the ‘Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women’. Four years later, the SC laid down Vishaka pointers. It took Parliament another 16 years to enact the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013.


The Act supplies that a grievance of sexual harassment by a feminine worker should be made within three months of the incident and that a false price may invite complaints in opposition to the complainant. Among more than a few acts described as sexual harassment beneath Section 3(2) of the Act, there's a provision which says “implied or particular promise of preferential treatment in her employment” for sexual gratification would also constitute an offence beneath the legislation. Since the SC has decriminalised Section 377 of IPC, the definition wishes remodeling.


Such an act becomes an offence handiest when the approached worker refuses to take the bait of promised preferential treatment from the employer or superior. What if both, the superior as well as the employee, are in sync with the dalliance in trade of preferential treatment via speeded up occupation enlargement? Will this consensual association amo- unt to sexual discrimination of alternative employees? There might be many other circumstances offering the turn side to this ‘MeToo’ campaign, as we found out within the circumstances of Asia Argento and our own Rohtak sisters.


Giving and taking bribes is inherent in our social tradition. It is firmly entrenched even within the professional spheres. Should an worker be empowered to report a grievance of sexual discrimination at the workplace if she/he finds that a positive worker, regardless of her/his known incompetence professionally, gets speeded up promotions?
Despite SC rulings, ‘MeToo’ had to surface in India to shame ‘predators’ Despite SC rulings, ‘MeToo’ had to surface in India to shame ‘predators’ Reviewed by kailash soni on October 08, 2018 Rating: 5
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