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Above: Photo by Anil Shakya

The apex court on Friday (May 11) directed Delhi High Court to form a committee under the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 to look into the complaints of sexual harassment at Tis Hazari Court in New Delhi.

The bench which comprised of CJI Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar, D Y Chandrachud further directed “no member of this committee should have a criminal record. Fair and speedy trial to take place. Compliance report to be submitted and accordingly, matter will be listed”.

The court’s directions came on the request of one lady advocate and petitioner-in-person Afshan Pracha along with Senior counsel Indira Jaising who said that women should be allowed to work without violence in courts and Tis Hazari doesn’t have a sexual harassment redressal committee.

Pracha had approached the top court for security so that her statement can be recorded under Section 164 of CrPC (recording of confessions and statements).

On the previous hearing, the bench had directed that her statement should be recorded by the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate at Patiala House Court and that she should be accorded police protection by the Police Commissioner.

During today’s hearing, Jaising said “both the parties have FIRs and let the law take its own course as far as these FIRs are concerned”.

To which the CJI replied: “The case to be tried at Patiala House court. Neither of the parties will be arrested and there shall be a fair trial. The parties, if so desire, can even opt for a settlement. ACP crime branch will be contacted if the petitioner needs security.”

—India Legal Bureau

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