No relief for Pachauri, court denies plea to enter TERI office

New Delhi: 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 17 July.

The court's directions came during hearing on an application of 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 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...

 No relief for Pachauri, court denies plea to enter TERI office

R K Pachauri. AFP

"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 (17 July)," 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 21 March, 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 17 July " the court said.

Earlier in the day, the court had reserved its order on Pachauri's plea seeking modification of its earlier order and permission to enter The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) office.

During the hearing, the investigating officer in the case said the police was opposed to Pachauri's plea as he can influence officials and witnesses working in TERI.

On being asked by the court as to what was his stand on Pachauri's plea, the IO said even TERI's IT wing, where its central server is located, is not cooperating with the police.

"All offices of TERI are interconnected. He should not be allowed to enter the office as the probe is still underway and the witnesses need to be examined," he said.

Advocate Prashant Mehndiratta, who appeared for the complainant woman, also opposed Pachauri's plea saying the Delhi High Court was seized of the matter and has granted four weeks time to the accused and the police to file their reply on an application seeking cancellation of his anticipatory bail.

On being asked by the court whether the High Court passed any order in this regard, Mehndiratta replied in the negative and said judicial propriety demands that the present matter be heard after the High Court decides the plea pending before it.

Senior advocates Ramesh Gupta and Dayan Krishnan, appearing for Pachauri, said the State has not gone before the High Court challenging the anticipatory bail and it is the
complainant who has approached the high court.

Gupta alleged that the complainant's counsel had misled the court in the last hearing by saying that they have filed a plea before the high court challenging the anticipatory bail plea granted to Pachauri but it was found out that the petition was filed later on and was taken up on May 19 and 20.

He also argued that in this case the complainant has no right and locus standi as of now.

The counsel further said if his client's anticipatory bail is cancelled by the high court then all the conditions imposed by this court will go. He said the high court has said there is no impediment regarding this matter.

Pachauri sought modification of earlier order of the court barring him from entering TERI premises till the probe is over.

He had said that major part of investigation is over and the complainant has recorded her statements and his electronic gadgets like laptop, cell phones are already with the police.

Pachauri was granted anticipatory bail on 21 March by the court which had rejected the request of police for his custody in the molestation case.

The court had granted him anticipatory bail by imposing several conditions on him including that he will join the probe as and when called, he will not enter TERI office premises and not intimidate or threaten the complainant and the witnesses of the case.

PTI

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Updated Date: May 21, 2015 20:10:48 IST