(Any opinions expressed here are those of the author, and not necessarily those of Thomson Reuters)
India took 50 years to come up with a definition for what constitutes sexual harassment in the workplace, courtesy of a Supreme Court judgement 12 years ago.
It makes you wonder where parliament has been, considering that there is no law to deal with the offense.
This may change soon. The Lok Sabha in September 2012 passed the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Bill. If approved by the Rajya Sabha, the law would give women a way to seek help from the government when confronted with predatory practices at work.
But here’s the funny part: the bill takes for granted that all potential offenders are men. That’s understandable, considering that sexual harassment usually begins with a man and is aimed at a woman. While the empirical evidence of sexual harassment against men may not be prominently reported and thus hard to ascertain, it does not mean that men cannot be victimised by other men or women at work.