Question 1Critically analyse the changes in laws against sexual harassment at workplace? (Political Science)

Sexual harassment at a workplace is considered violation of women's right to equality, life and liberty. It creates an insecure and hostile work environment, which discourage women's participation in work, thereby adversely affecting their social and economic empowerment and the goal of inclusive growth1. With this idea the legislature formulated the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act 2013.

The need for such legislation was observed first time by the Supreme Court, in Vishaka v State of Rajasthan2. In the absence of any law at that time providing measures to check the evil of sexual harassment of working women, the Supreme Court, in exercise of power available under Article 32 of the Constitution, framed guidelines to be followed at all workplaces or institutions, until a legislation is enacted for the purpose. The Supreme Court incorporated basic principles of human rights enshrined in Constitution of India under Article 14, 15, 19(1)(g) and 21, and provisions of Convention on Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), which has been ratified in 1993 by the Government of India. The guidelines laid down by the Supreme Court were to be treated as the law declared under Article 141 of the Constitution.

The Act also provides the circumstances under which an act may amount to sexual harassment. These are:

(i) implied or explicit promise of preferential treatment in her employment; or

(ii) implied or explicit threat of detrimental treatment in her employment ; or

(iii) implied or explicit threat about her present or future employment status; or

(iv) interference with her work or creating an intimidating or offensive or hostile work

environment for her; or

(v) humiliating treatment likely to affect her health or safety

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