In a significant verdict, the Calcutta High Court observed that same-gender sexual harassment is covered by POSH Act. The verdict was given by a single bench of Justice Sabyasachi Bhattacharyya while undertaking the case of Dr Malabika Bhattacharjee Vs. Internal Complaints Committee, Vivekananda College and others.
The term 'respondent' under the act will bring the meaning of 'person' which includes person of all gender and a person of any gender can be threatened and sexually harassed irrespective of the sexuality and gender of the perpetrator of the act, Calcutta High Court recognised.
"The definition of "sexual harassment" in Section 2(n) cannot be a static concept but has to be interpreted against the back-drop of the social perspective. Sexual harassment, as contemplated in the 2013 Act, thus, has to pertain to the dignity of a person, which relates to her/his gender and sexuality; which does not mean that any person of the same gender cannot hurt the modesty or dignity as envisaged by the 2013 Act," the court said. The POSH Act has been criticized earlier for following heteronormativity and for not being gender neutral.