Case Studies

Shanta Kumar V. Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) & Ors

Brief Facts:

When the petitioner was working in the laboratory, the respondent no. 3 entered, stopped all the machines and pushed her out of the laboratory and locked it. The petitioner alleged that the respondent used derogatory language. The committee examined the complaint and concluded that the nature of the complaint was not sexual in nature but administrative and managerial. The impugned report was accepted by the Disciplinary Authority and was under challenge. A writ petition was filed before the Delhi High Court by Shanta Kumar challenging the proceedings of the Complaint Committee and the order of the Disciplinary Authority exonerating the Respondent of the sexual harassment charges made against him.

The petitioner contended that the report of the Complaint Committee lacked application of mind. It was contended that the respondent no. 3 had touched the petitioners arm and any unwelcome physical contact would amount to sexual harassment.

The Delhi High Court held as follows:

The Court inferred that any physical contact or advance would be sexual harassment provided it is made in the context of a sexually oriented behaviour. A mere accidental touch, even if unwelcome would not amount to sexual harassment. In the instant matter, the incident would not qualify as sexual harassment even if it was derogatory in nature.