The Delhi High Court on Thursday refused to categorise every unwelcome physical contact as 'sexual harassment.'
The court was hearing an appeal filed by an employee of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), who had levelled charges of sexual harassment against a colleague for holding her hand.
The complainant had earlier challenged the order passed by the Complaint Committee and the Disciplinary Authority, clearing the respondent of sexual harassment charges.
The Delhi High Court, however, noted that "undoubtedly, physical contact or advances would constitute sexual harassment," but only if such a behaviour is part of a "sexually determined behaviour. Even though unwelcome, would not amount to sexual harassment".
The judgment also read, "Mere accidental physical contact, even though unwelcome, would not amount to sexual harassment".
"Similarly, a physical contact which has no undertone of a sexual nature and is not occasioned by the gender of the complainant may not necessarily amount to sexual harassment," added the judgement.