Priya Ramani Acquitted: What Court Said About Workplace Harassment
The Delhi court said that “even a man of social status can be a sexual harasser.”
A Delhi trial court acquitted journalist Priya Ramani on Wednesday, 17 February, in the defamation case brought on against her by former Union Minister MJ Akbar. Judge Ravindra Kumar Pandey said that the court took into consideration "systemic abuse at workplace" to arrive at the verdict.
Making important and pertinent observations, the judge said that "even a man of social status can be a sexual harasser."
‘Right to Put Grievance Before Any Platform’
Taking cognisance of the lack of Vishaka Guidelines – procedural guidelines for sexual harassment cases – at the time of alleged harassment, the court ordered that women have the right to grievance even decades later.
“A woman has right to put grievance before any platform even after decades,” it observed.
“It can’t be ignored that most times sexual harassment is considered behind closed doors. Sometimes victims are themselves unaware of their assault. The court takes cognisance of the lack of mechanisms to raise sexual harassment at workplace at the time referred to by Ramani and (Ghazala Wahab).”Ravindra Kumar Pandey
Even Person of Reputation Can Be a Sexual Harasser
The court added that it was time that society understood the impact of sexual harassment on the victim.
“Right of reputation can't be protected at the cost of right to dignity,” it said.
“Society needs to understand that perpetrators of sexual harassment can also be a normal person with family and friends, he can also be a person of reputation. Most of the women who suffer abuse can’t often speak up due to stigma and the attack on her character.”Ravindra Kumar Pandey
"Glass ceiling will not prevent Indian women from their advancement in society if equal opportunities are given to them,” the court further added.
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