Delhi High Court stated that,”A physical contact which has no undertone of a sexual nature and is not occasioned by the gender of the complainant may not necessarily amount to sexual harassment”.
On Tuesday Justice Vibhu Bakhru of Delhi HC refused to categorize every unwelcome physical contact as sexual harassment.
He expounded that,”Undoubtedly, physical contact or advances would constitute as Sexual Harassment provided such physical contact is a part of sexually determined behavior. But such physical contact must be in context of a behavior which is sexually oriented. Plainly, a mere accidental physical contact, even though unwelcome, would not amount to sexual harassment”.
High Court was hearing an Appeal challenging clean chit which given by Complaint Committee as well as Disciplinary Authority to an employee of Council of Scientific and Industrial Research accused of the Sexual Harassment.
Appellant had alleged that Respondent had held her hand and pushed her out of laboratory.
Committee had, however, exonerated Respondent while concluding that incident did not amount to a case of sexual harassment but involved altercation in background of uncongenial environment prevailing in division.
Appellant then challenged this conclusion, contending that any unwelcome physical contact should be categorized as the Sexual Harassment.
Delhi HC while agreeing with the decision of Complaint Committee that, “Complaint Committee concluded that the Respondent No.3 might have held Petitioner’s arm and thrown material in her hand in a fit of anger; although, the said incident may be a case of harassment and is deplorable, same would not qualify as sexual harassment”.
Read Judgment Here: