Should R K Pachauri be barred from being employed after sexual harassment charges?

New Delhi: With the three-decade long association of environmentalist RK Pachauri having come to an end with The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), should its ex-director general be given further employment in any other organisation?

Considering the serious allegations of sexual harassment against Pachauri, women activists and environmentalists strongly feel that he shouldn’t get further employment in any organisation.

The governing council of TERI in a recently held meeting reportedly decided to terminate the three-decade long association with Pachauri, who has been embroiled in three cases of sexual harassment, with immediate effect.

RK Pachauri. Getty Images

RK Pachauri. Getty Images

It was also decided, during the meeting, that the Pachauri’s membership for the council would not be renewed. Pachauri's membership ended on 31 March this year.

Dr Ranjana Kumari, director, Centre for Social Research, an advocacy group for women said, “Given his personal conduct which is so bad and the way he misused his position and power in an organisation to exploit women, we appeal that RK Pachauri’s applications should not be considered for further employment by any organisation.”

“The case against Pachauri should be dealt in a fast-track court, as it’s very difficult for the women victim to drag the case for years. Sexual harassment is the single most under-reported crime in most societies. It should be settled at the earliest possible or it becomes a mental torture for the victims,” she added.

The three cases of allegations of sexual harassment:

In 2015, a former research analyst of TERI in Delhi lodged the complaint against Pachauri for sexual harrasment.
The victim in her statement before a magistrate said that she repeatedly told Pachauri that she had no feelings for him, but Pachauri kept sharing the poems, expressing his feelings using words like "love sequestered".

On 1 March, a charge sheet was filed with the Delhi police. The Delhi Police in its chargesheet said that Pachauri had remained "engaged in sexually-laden conversations" with the victim citing various telephone calls, e-mails, and WhatsApp messages exchanged between the two. This happened despite several messages by the victim that she could not reciprocate his feeling.

The woman researcher who accused him of sexual harassment quit her job at TERI, alleging that she was treated badly.

After Pachauri was appointed as the executive vice chairman of TERI, another former TERI employee, who had joined the organisation in 2003 and worked for a year, came forward with the allegation that the former TERI director general had sexually harassed her while she was working at the institute. This was the second allegation against Pachauri.

The third case of sexual harassment came up on 31 March, when another woman levelled sexual harassment allegations against Pachauri through an open letter.

Legal activist and Supreme Court lawyer, Harvinder Chowdhury said, “The allegations against Pachauri needs to verified and veracity of the offence has to be checked, and once it’s established that he was involved in sexual harassment, judgment needs to be pronounced at the earliest. Instead of dragging it, the case needs to be settled at the earliest or else it’ll become traumatic more the victims. If Pachauri is proved guilty by the law, he should be punished, whether it’s in terms of imprisonment or barring him from joining any new organisation.”

According to The Economic Times report, “His (Pachauri) contract with the organisation was to end next July but the Council has decided to end it and honour it by paying the remainder of the tenure to him.”

Because of non-renewal of his membership, Pachauri will not be Executive Vice-Chairman of the organization, which he was appointed as on 8 February, 2016.

The Hindu in its report has quoted TERI spokesperson saying, “Mr Pachauri’s term as a Member of the Governing Council of TERI ended on March 31, 2016. As the post of Executive Vice Chairman (EVC) is co-terminus with this membership, his role as EVC also ended along with his membership of the council.”

Environmentalist Manoj Mishra remarked, “Pachauri has brought bad name to this profession as an environmentalist. There are three cases of sexual harassment against him and if allegations are proved, he’ll face imprisonment. There’s no question of any further employment. It’s so unfortunate that the time the organisation (IPCC) got the Nobel Peace Prize, he was heading it.”

Pachauri was the chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) from 2002 until his resignation in 2015, during which the organisation was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. He resigned from IPCC, when the first allegation of sexual harassment was levelled against him by a junior colleague at the New Delhi branch of TERI.

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Updated Date: Apr 22, 2016 20:04:58 IST

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