Virtual Harassment and remedies during the Pandemic, in conversation with Dr. Devika Singh (Part I)
In this interview we talk to Dr. Devika Singh, who is the co-founder and lead legal consultant at Cohere Consultants. She is a legal trainer on sexual harassment, workplace discrimination, inclusion and diversity and maternity and labour laws. Dr. Singh has aided the drafting and passage of the law on sexual harassment in the workplace in 2013 and the amendment to the Maternity Benefit Act in 2017. She has also been an advisor to the Government of India on laws protecting children from sexual offences, amendments to the IPC, laws on human trafficking and laws to protect women from domestic violence. This interview took place towards the beginning of the lockdown, in August 2020, when Universities and Colleges were shut down and ongoing Internal Committees (“IC”) cases were suddenly halted. In this insightful interview we discuss Dr. Singh’s experience in dealing with cases of online sexual harassment. We explore the notion of consent and the factors to be kept in mind while seeking consent over online platforms. We then delve into whether sexual harassment over virtual platforms can come under ‘campus’ as per the UGC Regulations. We also discuss whether ICs are equipped to conduct proceedings virtually and how the same can be done.
Here's what we learnt.