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Patiala House Court convicts SriLankan Airlines for sexual harassment

ANI | Updated: Dec 24, 2020 23:22 IST

New Delhi [India], December 24 (ANI): Patiala House Court has convicted SriLankan Airlines for an offence under Section 26 of Sexual Harassment for Women at Work Place (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal Act) 2013, and fixed January 7, 2021 for arguments on the quantum of sentence.
The court convicted the foreign airlines for violating Indian law by not having an Internal Complaint Committee to address the matters of sexual harassment at the workplace.
Earlier, the court had convicted ex-Regional Manager (India), SriLankan Airlines under Section 509 IPC for outraging the modesty of one of his junior colleague at its Delhi division office while he was posted there.
Metropolitan Magistrate Dev Saroha, while passing the judgement in the matter, said, "I am of the considered opinion that the accused (SriLankan Airlines) has violated Section 4 (1) of Sexual Harassment of Women (Prevention Prohibition and Redressal Act) 2013 and is liable to be convicted under Section 26 of the same.
He also observed that on the date of filing of the complaint, the airlines did not have the internal committee as per Prevention of Sexual Harassment at the Workplace (POSH) Act, neither had it any permanent committee in terms of Vikshkha guidelines.

The court also noted that in the present case, the complainant has stated that immediately after the incident she made the complaint to a number of her seniors and waited for an action to be taken against the accused, who is a senior employee of the company.
"She was thoroughly cross-examined by the defence and further stated that only after realizing that no action will be taken against the accused she made a formal complaint. The complainant has been consistent in her explanation regarding delay and she being a woman in a social setting like ours is often subjected to many pressure in matters like these," the court said.
"In the present case, not only the social dignity of the complainant was on line but also there must be some professional considerations, the accused being a senior officer of the company and her boss. Thus, the explanation given by the complainant is believable," the court added.
Advocate Ajay Verma, representing the complainant, submitted the airlines was also not supportive to her and rather they tried to cover up. The victim, instead of getting support from airline, was removed from service.
Earlier, the court while convicting the ex regional manager (India) noted that in the present matter the prosecution has examined three witnesses in total to prove its allegations qua the accused that on the date and time as earlier mentioned, the accused with intend to insult the modesty of a woman, uttered some words.
According to the prosecution, on October 8, 2009 the accused called the complainant in his room and outraged her modesty by asking unappreciated questions. (ANI)