What will happen when Nobel Prize-winning Rajendra K. Pachauri abuse the office & is charged with Sexual harassment!

Unfortunately, all too often, we have seen men in positions of power take advantage of the vulnerability of younger women by sexually harassing them, leading to attrition and the dropping out of women from the workforce,

Rejecting the police request for custody, a Delhi court on Saturday granted anticipatory bail to Teri director-general R.K. Pachauri, who is facing sexual harassment allegations from a woman employee. The court, while extending the relief, said that it was on a condition that he will join the investigation as and when called and also follow previous directions, like not entering the Teri office premises. The Delhi police, which moved an application seeking recall of the court’s order granting protection from arrest to Dr Pachauri, alleged that he is misusing the liberty granted to him and influencing the witnesses.

Additional sessions judge Raj Kumar Tripathi said: “Arguments heard from all the parties. There is no substance in the plea of prosecution for recall of earlier order to grant interim protection to the accused. Anticipatory bail is granted to the accused with a condition that he will join the investigation as and when called by the investigating officer (IO) of the case.” Additional public prosecutor M. Zafar Khan said that when the statement of an assistant to Dr Pachauri was recorded it was disclosed that he had met him in hospital and had dictated a version to be given to the police. The public prosecutor also alleged that he is not joining the investigation and under his influence even Teri officials are not cooperating with the police. “We need his custodial interrogation to corroborate the evidence and to stop him from influencing the witnesses,” Mr Khan said, adding, “Two officials who came to the Lodhi colony police station yesterday to submit Pachauri’s two laptops had tried to video-record the conversations.”

Mr Khan added: “When the photographer was questioned, he said Teri officials have asked him to video-record the conversations to help Pachauri in the case.”

IT experts are not being allowed to enter TERI offices and even if allowed inside, no cooperation is extended to them and they are deliberately being made to wait, he added.

The court maintained that the earlier conditions imposed on Mr Pachauri like he will not enter the TERI office premises and he will not intimidate or threaten the complainant and the witnesses of the case will continue. On February 23, the court had issued notice to the IO of the case and sought his response on Mr Pachauri’s anticipatory bail application. On February 13, an FIR was registered against Pachauri for the offence of sexual harassment under sections 354 A and 354 D and for criminal intimidation under section 506 IPC at Lodhi Colony police station.

The court’s directions came during hearing on an application of Dr. Pachauri seeking modification of its earlier order to enter TERI office.

TERI Director General R.K. Pachauri on Thursday failed to get an order on his plea for permission to enter his office from a local court which noted the “snail’s pace” in the probe into sexual harassment allegations against him and asked the police to complete it by July 17.

The court’s directions came during hearing on an application of Dr. Pachauri seeking modification of its earlier order to enter TERI office.

The court observed that right to livelihood is a fundamental right and cannot be suspended for an indefinite period but refrained from passing an order on Dr. Pachauri’s plea for entering TERI office because of the nature of allegations against him.

“Right of livelihood is a fundamental right of every citizen of this country. No person can be restrained from visiting the place of his work for an indefinite period…

“Considering the nature of allegations levelled against the accused and totality of the facts and circumstances of this case, this court postpones passing of any order on the application of accused till next date of hearing (July 17),” Additional Sessions Judge Raj Kumar Tripathi said.

The court noted that investigation in the case was progressing at a “snail’s pace” and during the arguments, the Investigating Officer (IO) has conceded that from March 21, no probe has been done till date.

The court also said that the IO may conclude the probe by the next date of hearing and examine material witnesses of the prosecution.

“If no substantive progress in respect of investigation in the case is made by the IO, this court shall be constrained to modify condition no. 4 (barring accused from entering TERI office).

“The accused cannot be restrained for an indefinite period from visiting the TERI premises for the purpose of earning his livelihood. List the matter for final disposal of the application of accused on July 17,” the court said.

News Desk

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