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HOW TO FILE A CASE FOR MENTAL HARASSMENT

mental harassment

WHAT IS HARASSMENT?

Harassment covers an exhaustive scope of behaviors of an offensive nature. Likewise, it also comes under behavior that is condescending or humiliating to another individual.

Here legally, these are behaviors or conducts that are normally disturbing. They develop from a discriminatory cause and have an impact of nullifying or impairing an individual from their rights.

WHAT IS MENTAL OR PSYCHOLOGICAL HARASSMENT?

Psychological harassment comes under detrimental or hostile conduct by one or more individuals directly or indirectly towards a third person. This is conduct that occurs frequently and over a long period which defames an individual or excludes them from work.

It refers to a conjunction of incidents which when considered individually may appear harmless. However, their continuous repetition has a destructive and impairing effect on the victim.

HOW TO DEAL WITH MENTAL HARASSMENT BY HUSBAND

Marriages are considered to be a sacred bond and are held in very high regard in the Indian society. It’s quite common that many married women face harassment by their husbands or in-laws.

Indian judiciary system has very strict laws against this abuse and harassment and this is very important in safeguarding the women in Indian society.

The following also belong in the category of harassment by husband or in-laws except for mental harassment:

  1. Behavior or acts which instigates women towards suicide.
  2. Any act of husband or in-laws which causes the women grave and critical injury.
  3. Demanding dowry from parents of the women certainly amounts to harassment.
  4. Any act defines as harassment as per the Indian law.

WHAT AMOUNTS TO CRUELTY IN CASE OF HARASSMENT BY HUSBAND?

  1. Any physical violence of any severity is termed as cruelty and is enough to start legal action.
  2. Any verbal abuse in terms of taunt, words, language, etc that are intended to cause mental torture.
  3. Abstaining a woman from talking to or meeting her family.
  4. Not letting the women see their children.
  5. Intentionally denying the food for a long time and intervals.
  6. Sexual intercourse without her consent.
  7. Unnatural sex.
  8. Limiting social interaction.
  9. Cruelty towards her children.
  10. Threatening with divorce for illegal, immoral or unreasonable demands.

WHAT ARE LEGAL ACTIONS THAT CAN BE INITIATED FOR HARASSMENT?

The Indian Penal Code has formed stringent laws against harassment towards a married woman. The following sections specify the legal implications of such harassment and abuse. A woman can instigate legal action in case she was a victim of the same vein. 

Section 498A of IPC

This section covers the cases where there is the infliction of physical or mental harassment on a married woman by her husband or in-laws. The offenses are punishable with imprisonment which may extend up to three years and shall also be liable to fine. Likewise, the offense so done is non-bailable and non-compoundable.

Section 304B of IPC

If a married woman dies within seven years of marriage and it is proved that she died because she was subjected to any type of physical harassment by her husband or her in-laws and the harassment was due to any reason such as non-payment or refusal to pay dowry it will be termed as dowry death.

The imprisonment term for the said offenses ranges from seven years and can extend to life imprisonment in severe cases.

Section 509 Of IPC

This section of the Indian penal code aims to punish any individual who intentionally tries to demean a women’s virtue by any such conduct is punishable with an imprisonment term of 3 years.

It is a cognizable, bailable, and compoundable offense.

The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005:

The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act 2005, helps women who are a victim of domestic violence of any kind. This act is a legal medium using which they can take action against the person. 

Once a woman initiates a legal action under the provisions of this act, she shall receive protection from any reoccurrence until the case goes to trial.

Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961

To break the norms of the century-old practice, the enactment of the Dowry Prohibition Act 1961, prevents demanding and accepting dowry from a woman’s family.

LEGAL REMEDIES FOR MENTAL HARASSMENT AT WORKPLACE

Workplace harassment, especially against women employees, occurs at great frequency worldwide. Studies suggest that as many as 50% of women experience workplace harassment during their employment, but only some women report it.

There are many classifications that fall under the cognizance of harassment at the workplace against women employees. The women employees suffer humiliation and defamation under such actions.

The majority of the people believe in the typical notion that harassment at the office can be sexual nature only. But this not the case generally various workplace harassment can be classified as below:

  1. Harassment based on the grounds of age.
  2. Harassment on the grounds of disability.
  3. Defamation- To demean and libel is to damage the reputation or image of an individual.
  4. Discrimination on the grounds of caste.
  5. Harassment on the grounds of Sexual Orientation and Marital Status.
  6. Harassment on the grounds of Race, Sex, Religion, and National Origin.

There is no specific law which enacts to deal with mental harassment in the workplace, but there are some laws that deal with some of the grounds such as:

  • NO BIASED DEDUCTION OF WAGES OR REMUNERATION – Section 7-13 of the Payment of the Wages Act, 1936 states that when deductions are to be made and up to what extent deductions can be made for employees both men and women.
  • EQUAL PAY FOR EQUAL WORK – Equal Remuneration Act 1976 states that every employee whether men or women should receive the same remuneration for work of similar nature.
  • DEFAMATION – Sec 500 of INDIAN PENAL CODE states punishment for defamation and suit can be filed as civil wrong as per the provisions of Law of torts.
  • UNREASONABLE CLAUSES IN THE EMPLOYMENT CONTRACT– Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 regulates the employment contracts and no discrimination is to be made for men and women.
  • MATERNITY BENEFIT ACT, 1961– It lays down provisions for non-discriminatory treatment to women during pregnancy and provides for maternity benefits to be provided to women employees. 
  • SEC 24 A OF THE PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES ACT, 1995– It lays down provisions for non-discrimination in Employment for disabled persons.
  • NO SEX DISCRIMINATION IN PROVIDING WAGES– According to Article 39(d) of the Constitution and Section 2(h) of the Equal Remuneration Act 1976, it is the duty of the employer that every employee whether male or female should be provided with equal remuneration for work of similar nature.

Furthermore, harassment of employees at the workplace contravenes their right to live with human dignity as laid down by our constitution. Hence, Article 42 and Article 43 of the constitution give direction for the state to provide provisions securing just and secure conditions of employment. 

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