SC seeks written arguments on harassment at workplace petitions.

ISLAMABAD -- The Supreme Court on Tuesday sought written arguments explaining how the parties interpret harassment at workplace, observing that the court may hear the matter in detail if it was convinced that the definition needed further elaboration.

Presided over by Justice Yahya Afridi, a three-judge Supreme Court bench consisting of Justice Mohammad Ali Mazhar and Justice Ayesha A. Malik asked Attorney General for Pakistan (AGP) Shehzad Ata Elahi and petitioner Nadia Naz to furnish detailed arguments on the maintainability of their review petitions.

The court had taken up a set of petitions moved by the AGP office, seeking review of the July 6, 2021 judgement in which the apex court had held that the Protection Against Harassment of Women at the Workplace Act (PAHWWA) 2010was a cosmetic legislation that blinkered in its application.

'When the PAHWWA is examined as a whole, it does not live up to expectation as titled and preamble of the act suggests,' Justice Mushir Alam had held in the judgement.

The review petition before the Supreme was filed through Deputy Attorney General Syed Nayab Hussain Gardezi to defend PAHWWA. The petition said it was an important welfare legislation enacted by parliament for the protection of working women in the country pursuant to the constitutional mandate as enshrined in Article 14, 25(2) and 34 of the constitution.

'The July 6 judgement is aimed at curbing gender-based harassment at the workplace in all its manifestation; therefore, it should be recalled by the court,' argued the petition.

Likewise, Nadia Naz also filed the review petition arguing that she had been removed from the job.

Ms Naz was appointed on a temporary basis as Resource Person (camera department) of Pakistan Television (PTV) on Sept 4, 2007. But she was proceeded against departmentally and terminated from service on May 13, 2017 during the pendency of her complaint before the Federal Ombudsman for Protection against Harassment of Women at the Workplace.

In his judgement, Justice Alam had observed that though anyone may be subject to sexual harassment, in a culture and society like Pakistan, women were the distressing majority of victims. Harassment in any society or organisation is...

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