Moneylife Events
How to get justice from sexual harassment at workplace and understanding Section 498A
"With more and more incidents of sexual harassment getting reported, it is important for women to know the process to file such complaint, after understanding what constitutes the offense. At the same time, men also should know about the Act so that they cannot be wrongly framed", says Senior Advocate Mrunalini Deshmukh. She was speaking at the sixth session under the "Police & You" series. 
 
Moneylife Foundation with Police Reforms Watch with support from Saraswat Bank have launched the 12-week program (every Wednesday) that aims to spread knowledge about protecting yourself, your rights, the Indian Penal Code (IPC), cybercrime and economic offences. This was the sixth such session.
 
Senior Counsel Deshmukh, who has been legal counsel to Aamir and Reena Khan, Karisma Kapoor and Valentina Pedroni (former wife of Arun Nayar), among others, shared her experiences of dealing with the Sexual Harassment Act. She particularly mentioned one case where the complaint against the boss was made after he started to ignore the lady. Another case was where a guide was mentally torturing and thus pressurising a student.
 
The event was held in the well-appointed auditorium of Saraswat Bank headquarters, Eknath Thakur Bhavan. 
 
 
Talking about Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), Adv Deshmukh, one of the top lawyers practising in divorce and ancillary issues of custody and maintenance, said the rate of conviction under Section 498A when a woman is alive is less than 1%. In 1983, ‘Section 498-A of the IPC was introduced with avowed object to combat the menace of harassment to a woman at the hands of her husband and his relatives. 
 
"Unfortunately, this Act is not used to resolve issues by the 'have nots' but by those who have. Most of the 'haves' use this Act as a weapon to seek or gain monetary benefits," she added. Adv Deshmukh, along with Adv Fazaa Shroff-Garg, has written a book “Breaking up: Your guide to getting divorced”.
 
Ms Deshmukh informed the audience about a recent order passed by the Bombay High Court, where the Court fined a woman for not perusing the case filed under section 498A, after a settlement with her husband. Although the Court has to accept the quashing of the case application, this shows that the judiciary is also taking a stand on possible misuse of the Act, she added.
 
The HC had said, "if the complaint filed by the wife against the husband under section 498- A of IPC and other related provisions is dismissed on merits and the husband and his family members are acquitted, then it is clear that the complaint filed by the wife against the husband was a false complaint."
 
The sixth session of the 12-week series on "The Police & You: What men & women need to know about Sexual Harassment Laws and Sec 498A" was conducted by Adv Deshmukh and Rajkumar Shriwastav, who is Director with the Fraud Investigation & Dispute Services of EY India.
 
 
Mr Shriwastav, a former police officer, explained as to what constitutes sexual harassment at workplace and the laws related with this. "Over the years, Indian companies are taking sexual harassment at workplace more seriously due to the widening impact of such complaints on the company reputation and morale of employees," he said.
 
The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 (Act) mandates the employer to provide a safe working environment and display conspicuously at the workplace, the penal consequences of indulging in acts that may constitute sexual harassment and the composition of the Internal Complaints Committee (ICC).
 
According to data from the National Crime Records Bureau, during 2014, a total of 3.38 lakh cases of crime against women were reported, an increase of 9.4% over 3.10 lakh cases reported in 2013. At the same time, the number of complaints registered with the National Commission for Women (NCW) related with sexual harassment at workplace rose to 336 in 2014 from 249 in 2013.
 
Sexual harassment as per law includes unwelcome acts or behaviour - whether directly or by implication - such as physical contact and advance, a demand or request for sexual favours, making sexually coloured remarks, and showing pornography.
 

Mr Shriwastav then explained duties of employer towards employees, the Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) and the government. He also explained the process of forming the ICC as well as filing complaint to the ICC. "One single incident can also constitute harassment when it is demonstrated that it is severe and has a significant and lasting impact on the complainant," he added.
 
The Director at EY India also advised employees to be aware, conscious and observant of the situation. He said, "If there is anything that can constitute to sexual harassment, you, especially women employees, need to speak up with superiors and seek resolution. At the same time, you need to extend support to other colleagues who may be undergoing similar situations."
 
Mr Shriwastav also cautioned about differentiating between sexual harassment and work related matters including professional feedback, friendliness and consensual behaviour. "While behaviour like professional feedback or appreciation, offering to share food at lunch time and consensual dating is accepted, if such behaviour should not be accompanied by any acts of sexual harassment," he said.
 
Before concluding, Mr Shriwastav informed the audience about various judgements from the Courts related with the penalty for non-compliance, principles of natural justice and non-appreciation of sexual harassment allegations.

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COMMENTS

SRINIVAS SHENOY

3 months ago

What do you think?...The session was very interesting. We all should learn to respect the feelings of our coworkers, mainly those of the opposite sex.
But on some rare occasions, I observed that the opposite sex misuse this provision, which is framed in order to protect them like e.g.
reporting to work deliberately late at the workplace, thereby affecting customer service, chitchating regularly, during office hours, resulting in the work allotted left incomplete and unattended.
Leaving office regularly early, citing some personal problems.

This misuse though rare is prevalent in some cases.

Nifty, Sensex still trendless – Wednesday closing report
We had mentioned in Tuesday’s closing report that Nifty, Sensex were awaiting triggers. The major indices of the Indian stock markets were range-bound on Wednesday and closed with small gains over Tuesday’s close. The trends of the major indices in the course of Wednesday’s trading are given in the table below:
 
 
Mixed global cues and lower crude oil prices led the key Indian indices to trade on a flat note during the mid-afternoon session on Wednesday. Selling pressure was seen in capital goods, banking and metal stocks. The BSE market breadth was marginally tilted in favour of the bulls -- with 1,540 advances and 1,171 declines and 202 unchanged. On the NSE, on Wednesday, there were 929 advances, 648 declines and 276 unchanged.
 
On Wednesday, the benchmark indices opened on a flat note on the back of negative Asian and European markets, and slightly positive US markets. Investors were also watchful of the negotiations for amendments in a tax treaty between India and Singapore. In addition, caution prevailed in the markets ahead of futures and options (F&O) expiry on Thursday and hampered the upward trajectory. Moreover, apprehension of a possible interest rate hike in the US following Fed Reserve Chair Janet Yellen's speech later during the week, and lower crude oil prices led the key indices to cap gains. Largely, the markets are flat ahead of the F&O expiry tomorrow (Thursday), pointed out market analysts. Also, the stock markets have been trading flat, as oil prices are steeply down, one of the main reasons being caution ahead of US crude oil inventory data due tomorrow (Thursday), explained market analysts. The foreign institutional investors (FII) continue to be net sellers during the week.
 
Tata Power on Tuesday reported a 76% drop in its consolidated net profit to Rs72.49 crore for the quarter ended June 30, as compared to Rs303.14 crore in the same period last year. "PAT (profit after tax) stood at Rs72 crore mainly due to one off items as well as first time impact on account of INDAS. One-off items includes Rs120 crore in CGPL (Coastal Gujarat Power Ltd) and regulatory orders pertaining to previous years of Rs62 crore and INDAS related adjustments of Rs130 crore," the company said in a statement. Its consolidated revenue in the quarter under review stood at Rs6,566 crore (including regulatory income/expense) as compared to Rs7,016 crore in the corresponding period last year. The company has announced acquisition of renewable assets and also commissioned several non-fossil fuel based projects during the year, which is in line with its strategic intent. Tata Power shares closed at Rs76.45, up 2.27% on the BSE.
 
Implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime will have an inflationary impact, leading to increase in tea prices, Tata Global Beverages' Chairman Cyrus P. Mistry said on Wednesday. "GST will have an inflationary impact on the prices of tea, but this will be across the board," he said while responding to a query of a shareholder at the company's 53rd Annual General Meeting. Mistry said that initially that GST will have inflationary impact on the company's current coffee and tea business as they have a tax incidence. However, there might be "short-term impact" of the GST but the "long term benefit is significant", he added. Mistry said the industry has been making representations for a favourable rate as coffee and tea are widely consumed beverages cutting across economic strata. The company is looking to tap e-commerce platforms to sell its products. The company’s shares closed at Rs140.35, up 0.68% on the BSE.
 
The Delhi assembly on Tuesday passed the Delhi Tax on Luxuries (Amendment) Bill, 2016 which is aimed at reducing burden on tourists and citizens and offering small hotels relief from luxury tax. The bill, introduced by Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia in the assembly on Monday, seeks to double the threshold limit of luxury tax from a room costing Rs750 per day to Rs1,500 by amending Sections 2 and 8 of the existing 1996 Act. Speaking in assembly during the discussion on Tuesday, Sisodia, who also holds the finance portfolio, said that it will benefit the common man who searches for budget hotels. India Tourism Development Corporation shares closed at Rs196.10, up 0.28% on the BSE.
 
Bandhan Bank, which marks its first anniversary on Tuesday, plans to expand its branch network to 1,000 by August 2017 from the existing 701, said its chief. "Next year when we meet to celebrate our second anniversary we will surely have at least 1,000 branches and more products," MD and CEO CS Ghosh said at the bank's first anniversary celebration. Pan India, 33% of its branches are in unbanked rural area, as against RBI's stipulation of 25%, he said. He said that 45% of branches are in West Bengal and 68% of them are in rural and semi-urban areas. Bank Nifty gained 0.07% on Wednesday.
 
The top gainers and top losers of the major indices are given in the table below:
 
 
The closing values of the major Asian indices are given in the table below:
 

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COMMENTS

MOHAN SIROYA

3 months ago

Superb ! Wow to Apple.

Rajan Vaswani

3 months ago

Data will be the next most traded commodity. Happy converting.

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