Sexual harassment case: Delhi tribunal dismisses appeal against ICC’s findings against R K Pachauri

Delhi tribunal dismisses appeal against ICC's findings against R K Pachauri

A Delhi tribunal has dismissed an appeal filed against the findings of TERI’s Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) confirming the allegations of sexual harassment levelled by one of its female employees against its former chief R K Pachauri.

The tribunal also observed that a man should know the difference amongst explicit consensus by woman and her explicit “no” or her implied consent.

Industrial Tribunal Presiding Officer Ajay Goel made the observations while dismissing the appeal filed by Pachauri’s legal representatives, who had alleged that the ICC findings were abuse of principles of natural justice, claiming that the inquiry was conducted in predetermined and haste manner.

The tribunal noted the emails and messages between Pachauri, who passed away in 2020, and the complainant, which was relied upon by the ICC. It said the conversation showed her physical and mental exploitation by the former TERI (The Energy & Resource Institute) chief, and despite expressing her discomfort and disinterest, he continued to send her messages.

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It is clear that the appellant was misusing his designation and his behaviour was causing discomfort and harassment to the complainant, the tribunal observed in its order passed on July 3.

“The clear picture which emerges is that a ‘man’ should know the difference amongst explicit consensus by woman and her explicit ‘no’ or her implied consent. In the present matter, the whole conversation and evidence points towards nothing but to the fact that appellant (Pachauri) was thrusting on the complainant which was not at all appreciated by complainant.

“No other way was left with the complainant as to how to show her trauma and she has rightly taken the shelter of the impugned Act (Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace Act). If it was the consent of complainant, she would never had come forward with the complaint,” it said.

The tribunal further observed that Pachauri had physically as well as emotionally blackmailed complainant.

“The words used by the appellant clearly shows the sexual harassment of complainant which were not to the liking of the complainant. The appellant was at a very good position and should have been extra vigilant in his conduct. He should have been setting example in the institution but to the contrary, he had rather violated the dignity of the woman by committing sexual harassment which cannot be ignored by the court and cannot be endorsed,” it said. The ICC had on May 19, 2015 found the complaint against Pachauri ‘confirmed’.

The petition had alleged that Pachauri and the complainant “shared a very cordial and respectable relationship”.

It alleged that the woman filed the complaint after Pachauri refused to assign her work since she was not able to give her 100 per cent.

The tribunal further said sexual harassment was the expression of unhealthy human relationship.

“It is not just the violation of dignity, right to social security and right to equality guaranteed to human beings in every social system but it is also a violation of right to life and peaceful existence guaranteed by law. It is a universal problem and its gravity is felt by all concerned around the world,” it said, adding that nations have gone for various legal approaches to curb harassment issues.

Pachauri died at the age of 79 on February 14, 2020 after prolonged cardiac ailment while the sexual harassment case was pending before a Delhi court.

The court, which had in October 2018 framed charges under sections 354 (outraging modesty), 354 A (making physical contact, unwelcome and sexually coloured remarks) and 509 (teasing and using vulgar gesture and actions) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), closed the case after his death.

Source: thehindu

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