KOCHI: The Kerala High Court has issued a notice to the state government on a petition against the provision under the Sexual Harassment of Women at Work Place (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Rules 2013 barring parties from engaging lawyers to represent them before complaints committee. The petitioner also sought to declare the provision as unconstitutional.
The petition was filed by a managing director of an IT firm in Thiruvananthapuram. The local-level complaints committee had initiated an inquiry into the allegation of sexual harassment levelled against him in an anonymous letter received by the District Collector. It was alleged in the letter the petitioner had sexually harassed a former employee of his firm. The committee had recommended the petitioner pay compensation to the former employee for his words and behaviour towards her.
The petitioner alleged he had been denied the right to be represented by a lawyer and the right to cross-examine the witnesses.