Rejection of Meesha’s complaint by ombudsperson: Employment with firm couldn’t be established: LHC – Pakistan

LAHORE: A detailed verdict of the Lahore High Court on a request by singer Meesha Shafi against the rejection of her complaint by the ombudsman on allegations of sexual harassment against singer / actor Ali Zafar states that Ms. Shafi could not Establish the employee's relationship with a production company that also signed an agreement with the suspect.

He said that the agreement between Ms. Shafi and the company was for the provision of services and its clause 6.11 sufficiently reflected the intention of the parties not to create an employment relationship.

Meesha had filed a petition that challenged the rejection of his complaint by the ombudsman and, subsequently, the governor, in which he accused Zafar of sexual harassment and sought actions against him under the Law on Protection against Harassment of Women in the Punjab workplace of 2012.

“The petitioner invites this Court to argue that the purpose of the law is to include even an independent and self-employed woman who is included in the term used. This will be a mockery of the law. Not only that many of these women would hate being granted that status and submit to the control and total control of an employer, "Judge Shahid Karim ruled in a 34-page verdict, which rejected the petition as incompetent and without merit.

The judge noted that if the petitioner sought to be treated as an employee, it must be in the totality of the concept and not on the basis of a tense construction, put into words, capriciously.

Judge Karim noted that the petitioner did not claim to be a worker at the production company nor did she admit to signing a work contract with her. Apart from this, he said, the complaint was not regarding an employee of the company that could be summoned as accused and punished.

"The defendant under the law must be an employee of the organization that operates the workplace and, if not, the complaint suffers from legal weakness and must fall on dry ground," the judge added.

The judge held that the petitioner was not an integral part of the firm and that he was only committed to the purpose of completing a specific task.

The judge left unanswered a question posed by Zafar's lawyer because it was unnecessary. It was that the petitioner, even by her own demonstration, was not an employee at the time of filing the complaint.

"It is not necessary to answer this problem because it does not arise, since it has been argued that the petitioner was not an employee anyway," Judge Karim ruled in reference to an appointment by the president of the Supreme Court of the Supreme Court of States United, John Roberts: "If not, it is necessary to decide more, it is necessary not to decide more."

Published on Dawn, October 19, 2019



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