No Vishaka guidelines at religious places: SC

Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi

New Delhi,  The Supreme Court on Monday dismissed a PIL seeking directions to implement sexual harassment committees in religious institutions.

A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi said judicial orders can’t be passed on this plea as Visakha guidelines cannot be extend to religious places.

“Why don’t you file a criminal complaint? How can Vishaka guidelines be extended to religious places?” he said.

A PIL was moved in the apex court seeking extension of its Vishakha guidelines to religious places, including ‘ashrams’, ‘madrassas’ and Catholic institutions, to check the rampant rise in sexual exploitation of women in such places.

Advocate Maneesh Pathak claimed in the petition that religious places constitute part of work place as many women were employed there besides others who were voluntary engaged with them.

In August 1997, the top court in the Vishakha case laid down as many as 12 guidelines to be followed by the employers to prevent or deter acts of sexual harassments against women.