Hospital fined 25 lakhs for not addressing sexual harassment complain

Justice Rohit Arya of Madhya Pradesh High Court has imposed a hefty fine of Rs. 50,000 on Medanta Hospital in Indore for absence of an Internal Complaints Committee, which is mandatory under Section 4(1) of the Sexual Harassment of Women At workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013. The Court after considering the report by the Local Complaints Committee and Directorate of Women Empowerment, MP, has adjudicated the matter in the favour of the Complainant and directed the hospital management to compensate her with Rs. 25, 00,000 for the humiliation and harassment undergone by her.

The Court has denied the defence taken by the hospital management that the enquiry did not amount to sexual harassment as define under Section 2(n) and disagreed the allegations of sexual harassment by Medical Superintendent Dr Gawrinath Madinga. The Court Highlighted the facts in the inquiry report that Dr Gawrinath had passed lewd comments on her outfit, made her sit in his cabin and created obstruction causing harassment in technical and operational support.

The fine imposed was upheld by the Court as there was an absence of Internal Complainant Committee to address such serious allegations at workplace and terminating the Complainant after the incident which was stigmatic in nature, without a proper internal inquiry. The Court relied on the previous judgements of Workmen vs American Express International Banking Corporation and Mr Arvinder Bagga vs Local Complainants Committee. 

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