Not every touch can be considered as sexual harassment: Delhi High Court

Sexual Harassment

Sexual Harassment

Summary: A physical contact which has no sexual undertone to itThe Delhi High Court said on Thursday that all unwelcome physical contacts can not be called sexual harassment unless they are made as part of sexually oriented behaviour. Plainly, a mere accidental physical contact, even though unwelcome, would not amount to sexual harassment. "Similarly, 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", the court said. The woman had contended that any unwelcome physical contact would amount to sexual harassment.

The Committee then examined the complaint made by the petitioner, concluding that the complaint was not of any sexual harassment but was a case of altercation in the background of the uncongenial environment prevailing in the division.

The Court further stated that although the Complaint Committee had accepted that there was evidence to show that the senior had held the arm of the petitioner, it had concluded that the same was not a sexually determined behaviour.

The disciplinary authority after receiving committee report had given clean chit to the accused person.

Kumar's appeal had previously been quashed by the Complaint Committee as well as the Disciplinary Authority and the respondent was given a clean chit.

A physical contact which has no sexual undertone to itThe Delhi High Court said on Thursday that all unwelcome physical contacts can not be called sexual harassment unless they are made as part of sexually oriented behaviour.

Dismissing an appeal by a woman employee who accused one of her colleagues at the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) of sexual harassment, the court upheld a decision of the Complaint Committee and the Disciplinary Authority to exonerate the man of the charge.

Recently, a poll found that 37 per cent of people had experienced sexual harassment, ranging from inappropriate comments to sexual assault at work or a place of study.

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