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Sexual Harassment At Workplace: SC Restores Penalty Amounting To 50 % Of Pension

Restoring the penalty, the Supreme Court was of the view that the perpetrators of sexual harassment have to face legal consequences.

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The Supreme Court recently overruled a decision of the Gauhati High Court that had invalidated a penalty order in a sexual harassment case filed by a female colleague.

The appeal is at the instance of the Union of India and others being the unsuccessful respondents before the High Court and is directed against the judgement and order passed by the Gauhati High Court in a case where High Court allowed the writ petition filed by the respondent herein (original petitioner) and thereby set aside the order of penalty of withholding of 50% pension for all times to come, imposed upon the respondent herein in connection with the disciplinary proceedings initiated on the allegations of sexual harassment.

The respondent herein was serving as the Area Organizer i.e., the Local Head of Office of the Service Selection Board (for short, “the SSB”), Rangia, State of Assam between September 2006 to May 2012. In the very same office, a lady employee was serving as the Field Assistant (Lady). She lodged a complaint addressed to the Inspector General Frontier Headquarters, Guwahati with one copy each forwarded to the DG SSB, New Delhi, Dy. IG, SSB, SHQ, Tezpur and the Chairperson of the National Women Rights Commission, New Delhi inter alia alleging sexual harassment at the hands of the respondent. 

Restoring the penalty, the Supreme Court was of the view that the perpetrators of sexual harassment have to face legal consequences. Letting go of the aggressor in such cases with a minor penalty can cause undeniable stress to the victims. 

The High Court committed an egregious error in passing the impugned judgment and order, the Supreme Court said.




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