RK Pachauri to be charged with sexual harassment; Saket court says 'sufficient evidence' against former TERI chief

Former TERI chief and environmentalist RK Pachauri will be charged with sexual harassment after the Saket district court in Delhi dismissed the defence's arguments in a 2015 case, reports said.

Pachauri was accused of sexually harassing a female colleague in 2015 while he was heading The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), a non-profit based out of Delhi.

He has been charged with sexual harassment under Section 354A, which can attract rigorous imprisonment up to three years; assault or using force to outrage the modesty of woman under Section 354 and for outraging the modesty of a woman by using words, gestures or acts under Section 509 of the IPC.

 RK Pachauri to be charged with sexual harassment; Saket court says sufficient evidence against former TERI chief

File image of RK Pachauri. AFP

According to reports, the Saket district court said sufficient evidence is available to move ahead with the case, while rejecting the defence's argument that his cell phone was hacked.

The complainant's lawyer, Prashant Mendiratta told CNN-News18 that the three Sections — IPC 354, 354A and 509 — which were added to the case by the police are crucial in the case. He also said that the case should be fast-tracked as there has already been delay in the case.

Meanwhile, the complainant released a statement expressing relief with the Saket district court order. "Chuffed to bits. This has not been easy. This is a big big leap towards the truth. I am relieved and exhausted fighting Pachauri," the complaint said, according to ANI.

Pachauri also told CNN-News18 that he was out of the country, whereas his lawyer said that the evidence submitted in the case is weak. The next hearing in the case is scheduled on 20 October, when the charges will be filed.

History of the case

Pachauri was accused of sexually harassing a female colleague in 2015. He stepped down as the chairperson of the UN Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change in February 2016 and proceeded on leave from TERI, where he was the director general. The woman researcher who accused him of sexual harassment in November quit her job at TERI, alleging she was treated badly. TERI had denied the charges.

On 8 February, 2016, Pachauri was appointed as executive vice chairman of the organisation. Following severe criticism, he went on indefinite leave from the organisation on 12 February, 2016.

On 26 February, Pachauri had secured an order from another city court making it mandatory that the media houses publish or telecast the coverage of the case with a title that "in any court the allegations have not been proved and they may not be correct".

The interim order had further said, "When such information is published in any page of a magazine or report, then it should be in the middle of the page in bold letters and it should be five times larger than the font in which the article is being published."

In April 2016, a few months after the charge sheet was filed against him in the alleged sexual harassment case, Pachauri had slapped a civil suit against lawyer-activist Vrinda Grover and another person for allegedly making defamatory statements against him outside the courtroom to the media in connection with the case.

Pachauri has sought damages of Rs 1 crore for "false and frivolous allegations" which, he argues, could prejudice his case.

With inputs from agencies

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Updated Date: Sep 14, 2018 16:44:19 IST