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  India   All India  23 Jul 2019  No rules on sexual assault at religious places: Supreme Court

No rules on sexual assault at religious places: Supreme Court

THE ASIAN AGE.
Published : Jul 23, 2019, 2:00 am IST
Updated : Jul 23, 2019, 7:35 am IST

The senior counsel Khanna pointed out that a large number of women regularly work at these places of worship voluntarily or as staff of the ashrams.

Supreme Court of India (Photo: PTI)
 Supreme Court of India (Photo: PTI)

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday junked a plea for the framing of guidelines and setting up of the grievance redressal committees for the protection of women from sexual harassment at ashrams, madrasas, churches, and places of religious sects who are either working or residing there for spiritual enlightenment.

The petitioner had sought the framing of guidelines for curbing of sexual harassment at religious places or extending the Vishaka guidelines that mandates setting up a  committee to look into the complaints of sexual harassment at a work place having ten or more employees.

Rejecting the plea, the bench comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, Justice Deepak Gupta and Justice Aniruddha Bose said that the Vishaka guidelines are for curbing the sexual harassment at workplaces  and religious places are not covered under that.

Senior counsel Rakesh Khanna referred to the cases of sexual harassment at the ashrams of self-styled godman Asaram, alleged Baba Gurmeet Ram Rahim and of a priest of a church in Kerala being involved in case of sexual abuse of a Nun.

However, an unimpressed apex court was unmoved even as the senior counsel Khanna pointed out that a large number of women regularly work at these places of worship voluntarily or as staff of the ashrams.

The petitioner Maneesh Patkha had sought directions to district authorities to periodically visit these ashrams and similar religious places to make background check and verification of the religious gurus or the head of the religious institutions and others involved in the running the affairs of these religio8us places.

The petitioner had contended that such a verification and check by the authorities on the antecedents of those managing the ashrams, madrasas or other religious places including that of their heads would reduce the incidents of sexual harassment and abuse at these places.   

Tags: supreme court, sexual assault