Mrs. Anita Ravindra vs Sexual Harassment Complaints Committee and Ors

by Admin
August 23, 2016
LITIGATION
Disability Rights

The Petitioner, Mrs. Anita Ravindra G.R, is a woman with multiple disabilities. She is a senior teacher at the Demonstration Multipurpose School, Regional Institute of Education, Mysore. Since 2012 she had been facing sexual harassment as well as harassment due to her disability at the hands of two male colleagues (Respondent No. 7 and 8) and the principal (Respondent No.2). Despite addressing several complaints to multiple authorities ( Respondents 1-5), no action was taken against these complaints of sexual harassment.

 

There were two grievance committees set up which enquired into the Petitioner’s complaints, but these committees were not set up in accordance with the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013, and no orders or findings of any kind were passed by these Committees. The 2nd Respondent, the Principal had not set up an Internal Complaints Committee to look into complaints of sexual harassment as required under the Act, and when finally Anita Ravindra’s complaint was forwarded to the Sexual Harassment Complaints Committee, the 1st Respondent, which acts as the Local Committee under the Act, dismissed the Petitioner’s complaint on the ground that it does not come within its jurisdiction without giving any reasons for the same.  Therefore, the Petitioner challenged the order of the Sexual Harassment Complaints Committee.  Additionally, since no action had been taken against the Respondents No. 7 and 8, and since this amounted to a complete violation of the protection of the Petitioner’s fundamental rights to work with dignity and equality as guaranteed under Articles 14 and 21 of the constitution, this petition was filed.

 

On 13.11.15, the Hon’ble High Court of Karnataka passed an order striking down the order passed by the Sexual Harassment Committee, 1st Respondent which had rejected the Petitioner’s complaint on the grounds of lack of jurisdiction but without providing any reasons. It directed the committee consider the complaint of the Petitioner before 30 days from the date of the receipt of the order.