Woman lawyers on Tuesday appealed to the Supreme Court to set up complaint committees in courts across India to examine incidents of sexual harassment of female advocates within court complexes.
Senior advocate Indu Malhotra made the fervent plea before a bench of justice TS Thakur and justice Gyan Sudha Misra and said the committees should be according to the apex court mandate laid down in the famous Vishaka judgment.
The bench was hearing a male advocate’s plea against his conviction for slapping a woman lawyer in Delhi high court.
Malhotra said harassment of women lawyers was a serious issue and that the guidelines framed in 1997 to protect the fair sex at workplace should be implemented even in courts. Malhotra’s plea assumes significance as the Supreme Court guidelines are compulsory for every government of private office but not for self-employed professionals whose set-up would not qualify to be an organisation.
The court agreed to hear the plea and asked Malhotra to file an affidavit in this regard.
Holding that each incident of sexual harassment at workplace was violation of fundamental right, SC had on August 13, 1997 made it compulsory for every office to set up committees to look into such complaints.