Delhi HC: Foreign Airlines must comply with sexual harassment law

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Foreign Airlines were warned by Delhi High Court, that if they do not comply with the law on sexual harassment at workplace it would be at their own peril as the law applied to them.  Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice R S Endlaw observed while dismissing a public interest litigation wherein they sought directions to the Centre and Delhi government to implement Vishakha Guidelines on sexual harassment against women in the aviation industry.

This issue came to light when an Indian woman who was employed with Sri Lankan Airlines had sought action against the carrier and its officials for sexual harassment and thus this matter was transferred as a PIL to the bench by another court which was dealing with the plea. This application was moved by the woman’s advocate Ajay Verma to enquire into the complaint of the petitioner and has pleaded the court to constitute the committee in the SriLankan Airlines as per Vishaka guidelines.

High Court stated that as Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act 2013, is in force there is no need for the court to issue any direction to comply with the law. Court said that when the law has come into force, every airlines including foreign airlines who are having a place of work in India and to all such airlines Indian law may be applicable should and are required to comply with the law and there is no need for the court to issue any direction to any airlines to abide by the law.

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High Court further stated that the present public interest litigation which was brought before it was being pursued without regard to the law which is in existence already and its provision thereof and so court does not feel it necessary to entertain this petition and thus dismissed it.

Court took note of Delhi Government’s submissions about the communications which was been sent Civil Aviation Ministry’s Joint Secretary to circulate a direction to each and every airlines operating from Delhi and NCR to constitute Internal complaints committees and should take further steps to create awareness about the same.

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Sushma Javare.