NEW DELHI: Following the directions of the Supreme Court, the Delhi High Court has put in place a mechanism to deal with sexual harassment complaints within its precincts and also made it clear that anonymous pleas would not be entertained.
Chief Justice G Rohini, acting on the recommendations of the Committee Against Sexual Harassment of Women At Workplace, has said all written complaints would be dealt with by D S Bhandari, Officer on Special Duty of the High Court administration.
“Any anonymous complaint(s) regarding sexual harassment of women at workplace shall not be entertained,” the order, issued by Joint Registrar SPS Premi, said. It also said the identity of the complainant would be kept secret. Earlier, the apex court had constituted a 10-member committee headed by Justice Ranjana Prakash Desai, to deal with complaints of sexual harassment there.
Besides Justice Desai, the Supreme Court Gender Sensitisation and Internal Complaints Committee (GSICC) has six other female members.
There are two members who are outsiders and not connected with the apex court in any manner. The setting up of the committee had come close on the heels of a law intern’s allegation of sexual harassment against a recently retired Supreme Court judge.
An advocate has been barred entry into the Supreme Court precincts for six months following an inquiry against him in a complaint of sexual harassment in the first such order after a committee was formed to look into such complaints in the apex court.
“The Delhi High Court has also assured everyone that “All proceedings emanating from the complaints made under the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace Act, 2013, shall be treated and dealt with confidentially.”
Last year, two lawyers had moved the High Court in a PIL seeking formation of a sexual harassment committee to contain harassment of women in court premises. It had pointed out that “till date no regulations have been notified to ensure the safe working of women and to combat the problem of sexual harassment in the precincts of the Delhi High Court and various district courts of Delhi.”