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It is harassment in common workplace, if woman posted in different State is harassed on digital platform : Rajasthan High Court 

The High Court of Rajasthan, through learned judge, Justice Sanjeev Prakash Sharma in the case of Sanjeev Mishra v The Disciplinary Authority and General Manager, Zonal Head, Bank of Baroda (S.B. Civil Writ Petition No.150/2021) held that it is harassment in common workplace if woman posted in different State is harassed on digital platform

BRIEF FACTS OF THE CASE: The petitioner by way of this writ petition prayed for quashing and setting aside the charge sheet and notice against him for alleged sexual harassment at workplace. The learned counsel for the petitioner submitted that the Disciplinary Authority & General Manager, Bank of Baroda had wrongly issued the charge sheet to the petitioner as it did not lie within its jurisdiction. The petitioner was working in a different State while the complainant who had lodged a complaint for sexual harassment was in another State. Learned counsel submits that in this regard, notice was also given to the respondent. Learned counsel submitted that in terms of Bank of Baroda Officer Employees’ (Discipline and Appeal) Regulations, inquiry could have been initiated only when the petitioner commits any sexual harassment at the work place. Since the petitioner is different from that of the complainant, a charge sheet could not have been issued to the petitioner and no inquiry could be conducted. However, learned counsel submitted that the allegation in the charge sheet relating to sending of messages is after working hours and therefore, also the charge sheet was misconceived and inquiry could not have been conducted. 

FINDINGS OF THE COURT: After hearing the contentions raised by both the parties, the court observed “ In the present digital world, workplace for employees working in the Bank and who have earlier worked in the same Branch and later on shifted to different branches which may be situated in different States has to be treated completely as one workplace on a digital platform. Thus, if a person may be posted in Jaipur and acts on a digital platform harassing another lady who may be posted in a different State, it would come within the ambit of being harassed in a common workplace. The contention of the counsel for the petitioner, thus on the aforesaid count is rejected”. The court further remarked that if messages are sent after working hours, then it would amount to causing harassment and prima facie would come within the meaning of misconduct under the Regulations of 1976. Thus, the contention of the counsel for the petitioner was found to be without any basis and the writ petition is accordingly dismissed.

.JUDGEMENT REVIEWED BY – AMRUTHA K

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