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VISHAKHA & OTHERS V. STATE OF RAJASTHAN & OTHERS [AIR 1997 SC 3011]

INTRODUCTION

This case was against Ramkaran Gujjar (Thakurs) who was a father of an infant daughter. He and his gang raped a Bhanwari Devi (petitioner), a welfare worker because she made an effort to prevent the infant’s marriage and the infant was Ramkaran Gujjar’s daughter. She did not stop at the wedding. So, after gang raping her husband filed a complaint at a police station, and filed the case with the various level of court after filing the case in Supreme Court she got justice, but she is that the just one, because of her struggles the laws regarding molestation at the workplace came into force.

FACTS

  • Bhanwari Devi is a girl living in Bhateri, which is in Rajasthan, India. Bhateri village is 55 kilometers away from Jaipur. She worked as a ‘Sathin’, a grassroots worker employed as a part of the women’s development Project (WDP). The main purpose of this project was to prevent child marriages and was also administered by the authorities of Rajasthan.
  • One day, she was visiting to prevent the child marriage of an infant, a 9-month-old girl child of Ramkaran Gujjars (Thakurs). In step with her work, she tried to get rid of the wedding of a toddler. But after such a lot of effort, she still failed. Despite this, the family was able to arrange a marriage for the subsequent day.
  • In September 1992, within the Gujjar family, there have been Ram Sukh Gujjar, Gyarsa Gujjar, Badri Gujjar, and Shravan Sharma, including the father of a lady child, Ramkaran Gujjar, who beat the husband of the victim unconsciously and harshly gang-raped as they were on the brink of taking revenge.
  • Then, Bhanwari Devi and her husband filed a complaint at the police office, where the lawman told her to flee her lehenga here at the police office for medical evidence. Even the feminine constable still taunted her. And therefore the doctor also made a report where he didn’t mention the rape commission rather than the victim’s age.
  • But she didn’t hand it over and filed a case with the Court. The tribunal discharged all five accused for not being guilty of any offence.
  • She filed a case with the Rajasthan High Court after the judicature and, after fifteen years of the circumstance, in 2007, the High Court held that there was a gang rape of Bhanwari Devi in a very revengeful situation. The situations, torture, and judgments provoked women, NGOs, and a women’s rights group referred to as “Vishakha” together with the opposite four organizations, to come back cooperatively and filed a case against brutal gang rape.
  • The women’s rights groups, together with four other organizations, filed a PIL within the SC of India.

ISSUES

  1. Are the Trial and Supreme Court judgments of Bhanwari Devi violate her fundamental rights which are under articles 14, 15, 19(g) and 21?
  2. What are the roles and responsibilities of the employer in the case of sexual harassment?
  3. Can the law of nations be applicable if applicable measures are absent within the existing law?

THE PETITIONER’S CONTENTION

A petition of the writ goes for the writ of mandamus by the ‘Vishakha’ group and other four organizations, NGOs, and other human rights activists. They raised the difficulty of harassment within the workplace, citing the rights of women under articles 14,15,19 and 21 of the Indian constitution act, 1949. According to these articles, the defendant has violated the basic rights of a victim. Also, they put forward the attention of the Hon’ble Court to the defect of the laws made by the legislation of India towards a secure woman’s environment. They seek the Hon’ble Court to form directions on prohibiting harassment at the workplace. 

THE DEFENDANT’S CONTENTION

The learned peace officer, showing up on the behalf of the defendant with the defendant’s consent, did something surprising as he reinforced the petitioner. The defendant accommodated the Hon’ble Court in deciding on an efficient method to control harassment and in arranging the rules for prohibiting identical. Fali S. Nariman, the consultant of the Hon’ble Court, together with Ms. Naina Kapur and Ms. Meenakshi, provided help to the Hon’ble Court in managing the said case.

Judgment

This case’s judgment was forwarded by Justice J.S.Verma’ as a representative of Justice Sujata Manohar and Justice B.N.Kirpal in view of the petition of a writ, filed by Vishakha group, the victim during this case. The Court discovered that articles 14, 15, 19, (3) (1) (g) and 21 of the Indian constitution, 1949 are violated during this case. Sec. 354 and 354A of the IPC, 1860 observed this case of harassment, but these statutes didn’t seem to relate to the problem at hand. Then, Hon’ble justice also realizes that there’s a deficiency in laws pertaining to molestation.

The elementary requirement is that there should be a secure work environment for girls. The highest Court of India held that women have a fundamental right to freedom from workplace harassment. It also sets diverse necessary instructions for taking care of workers and avoiding harassment at the workplace. The Court also recommended some techniques for creating a snug and good work environment where it’s required or where there’s harassment at the workplace. The primary target of the highest Court was to create sure that there should be gender equality and that there shouldn’t be any style of discrimination at the workplace against women. The Hon’ble Supreme Court also formulated the rules that were to be managed as the law proclaimed under article 141 of the constitution of India, 1949. These instructions were the inspiration for workplace harassment against women (prevention, prohibition, and redressal act, 2013).

CONCLUSION

This incident with Bhanwari Devi, additionally the loss of the trial and judicature victories, has prompted and awakened many women to boost their voices, break the silence, and demand justice for their silent victims. Still, numerous women face harassment, rape, etc. in their daily lives. We’ve better laws, but these laws don’t seem to be sufficient to shield women. The government should take a heavy step toward this case and make strict laws. We will see that if the laws are strong, but the defendant didn’t get that punishment, the victim’s loss could also be on the victim’s reputation, etc. Because some people do a commission and a few Courts are slow and have such a big amount of pending cases. So, we all should take these situations seriously. Murder kills the physical body, but rape and harassment kill the soul of the build. There are also some cases which are related to this case as:-

  1. Medha Kotwal Lele & Ors. Vs. Union of India & Ors. (2013) 1 SCC 311[1]
  2. Mukesh & Anr. Vs. State for NCT of Delhi & Ors. (2017) SCC Online SC 533[2]
  3. Seema Lepcha Vs State of Sikkim and Others (2013) 11 SCC 647[3]
  4. Independent Thought Vs. Union of India and Anr. (2017) 10 SCC 800[4]

Author(s) Name: Sukriti Dubey (Guru Gobind Singh Indrapastha University)

References:

[1]Medha Kotwal Lele & Ors. v. Union of India & Ors. (2013) 1 SCC 311

[2]Mukesh & Anr. v. State for NCT of Delhi & Ors. (2017) SCC Online SC 533

[3]Seema Lepcha v. State of Sikkim and Others (2013) 11 SCC 647

[4]Independent Thought v. Union of India and Anr. (2017) 10 SCC 800