Wednesday, 13 January 2021

In the Digital Era Employees Working In Different States can Be Treated as working in One Work Place under Sexual Harassment law.


In the present digital world, work place 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

work place 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 work place. The contention of the counsel for the petitioner, thus on the aforesaid count is rejected.

 HIGH COURT OF JUDICATURE FOR RAJASTHAN

BENCH AT JAIPUR

S.B. Civil Writ Petition No.150/2021

Sanjeev Mishra Vs  The Disciplinary Authority And General Manager, Zonal Head, Bank Of Baroda, 

HON'BLE MR. JUSTICE SANJEEV PRAKASH SHARMA

Order: 11/01/2021

The petitioner by way of this writ petition has prayed for

quashing and setting aside the charge sheet dated 4.1.2020 and

notice dated 31.12.2020.


Learned counsel for the petitioner submits that the

Disciplinary Authority & General Manager, Bank of Baroda has

wrongly issued the charge sheet to the petitioner as it does not lie

within its jurisdiction. The petitioner is working in a different State

while the complainant who has lodged a complaint for sexual

harassment is in another State. Learned counsel submits that in

this regard, notice was also given to the respondent.

Learned counsel submits that in terms of Bank of Baroda

Officer Employees’ (Discipline and Appeal) Regulations, 1976

(hereinafter referred to as “Regulations of 1976”), 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, charge sheet could not have been

issued to the petitioner and no inquiry could be conducted.

However, learned counsel submits that the allegation in the charge

sheet relating to sending of messages is after working hours and

therefore, also charge sheet is misconceived and inquiry could not

have been conducted.

I have given my thoughtful consideration to the submissions.

In the present digital world, work place 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

work place 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 work place. The contention of the counsel for the petitioner, thus on the aforesaid count is rejected.


The second submission of the counsel for the petitioner is

that obscene and overt messages alleged to have been sent after

the working hours are concerned, suffice it to note that the

petitioner was holding the post of Chief Manager and the work

timings for officers of senior level cannot be taken into

consideration as between 10.30 AM to 4.30 PM alone. That apart

knowing fully well that the concerned lady is in employment with

the Bank and holding the subordinate post. 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 is found

to be without any basis and the writ petition is accordingly

dismissed.

(SANJEEV PRAKASH SHARMA),J


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