A hospital in Madhya Pradesh was fined Rs 50,000 by the Madhya Pradesh High Court for not having an Internal Committee to address complaints of sexual harassment at the workplace. The hospital was also directed to pay Rs 25 lakh to the complainant for failing to address her complaint. According to a LiveLaw report, the complainant, a senior marketing manager at the hospital, had filed a sexual harassment case in 2017 against a medical superintendent at the hospital. The hospital did not have an internal committee as directed under Section 4 of the Sexual Harassment of Women At Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013.
In its order, the court observed that as soon as the complainant took charge at the hospital, the accused gave her a "passive unwelcome verbal note" that was 'sexually-coloured.' The court also noted that the accused would comment upon her outfits and he used to force her to sit in his cabin and would hinder her work.
The court held that the hospital failed to address the humiliation and harassment faced by her. The judge also added that during the enquiry, it was also found that the hospital did not have an Internal Complaints Committee where she could have filed an official complaint, and when she tried to raise her voice and brought the issue before the Managing Director of the hospital, her case was dealt with utmost coldness and she was sacked.
“All these actions,” the court said, “constituted a case for sexual harassment in as much as it was trite that the Act in question was predominantly social welfare legislation and must not receive narrow and pedantic meaning.”
The court directed the hospital to pay Rs 50,000 as fine for not setting up the Internal Committee and directed that the complainant be paid Rs 25 lakh as compensation for the “pain and suffering, loss of reputation, emotional distress and loss of salary of eighteen months."