Orissa HC Warns Centre & State Govts of Contempt Over Women’s Workplace Safety

Cuttack: The Orissa High Court has warned the Central and state governments of contempt of court proceedings if they fail to implement Section 19(b) of the Sexual Harassment of Women in the Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition, and Redressal) Act, 2013.

The court’s warning comes in response to a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by Biyat Pragya Tripathy, who highlighted the lack of implementation of legal safeguards aimed at ensuring women’s safety in workplaces.

The bench, comprising Chief Justice S. Talapatra and Justice Savitri Ratho, has set a deadline of December 15 for the full implementation of the court’s directives.

The court has previously issued orders on December 7, 2022, directing government officials and other authorities to implement Section 19(b) of the Act and submit a compliance affidavit. However, progress has been sluggish, prompting the court’s recent warning.

Among the requirements laid out in the Act, authorities must display billboards outlining the legal consequences of sexual harassment in workplaces. The billboards must also prominently feature toll-free and dedicated phone numbers, enabling women to promptly report threats of sexual harassment or violations of their dignity and take action against perpetrators.

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