Adyasree Prakriti Sivakumar
Vishaka v. State of Rajasthan saw India open its eyes towards safety and security of working women. The guidelines laid down in this case brought a major revolution in the area of “Sexual harassment of women in work places”. It brought happiness in lips and safety in hearts of working women.
In a recent case, these guidelines were challenged in the court of law for the Civil Aviation sector. A suit was filed by an Indian employee employed in Sri Lankan Airlines who challenged the guidelines. She questioned the Civil Aviation Ministry and Women and Child Development Ministry, Delhi government, the airline and its officials for failing to prevent her from harassment, which was released by the press on November 23, 2014. Adding on, the main defaulter, Sri Lankan Airlines, has been questioned not only by its own employee but also by the High court of Delhi as to why it had not set up regular internal complaints committees, as per the guidelines, at its seven offices in India to look into instances of sexual harassment.
Justice Hima Kohli asked the Centre and Delhi government to verify if airlines operating from the capital, international and domestic have a sexual harassment committee as per the landmark Supreme Court guidelines. To quote the court, “What steps have you (Centre, Delhi government and airlines) taken for the implementation of Vishaka guidelines in all Airlines or at every workplace? You should have done it by now. You should ensure Vishaka guidelines are functional in every other organization.”
We are living in an era where we want “equality” in everything, “no discrimination” in all aspects. If so is the case then why is it that when it comes to the safety and security of women there is “inequality” and “discrimination”? The words said by our Prime Minister on Independence Day this year, would be the best way to conclude, “Question not your daughters where they are going but tell your sons to behave.”