Delhi court orders framing of charges against RK Pachauri in sexual harassment case

A Delhi court paved the way for the framing of charges against the internationally acclaimed environmentalist, RK Pachauri for sexually harassing a woman colleague at the workplace by ordering that molestation charges be framed against him. Pachauri stands accused of sexual harassment and stalking by his former colleague.

Metropolitan Magistrate Charu Gupta of Saket court ruled on Friday that there was enough material to formally charge Pachauri and ordered framing of charges under sections 354 (Outraging modesty), 354A (Making physical contact, unwelcome and sexually coloured remarks) and Section 509 (Teasing and using vulgar gesture and actions) of the Indian Penal Code. She ordered that the charges be formally framed on 20th October.

Pachauri was, however, discharged of some other sections such as criminal intimidation and wrongful restraint stating that prima facie, these charges were not made out.

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Welcoming the court order the complainant said, “I knew it (the framing of charges) would happen, but the question was ‘when’,” she says, adding “I breathed a sigh of relief today. This is a big leap towards the truth, which must triumph.”

Though the analyst said that she had never lost sight of the bigger picture and was deeply anguished that her tormentor’s career was not affected because of these allegations, and he is still invited to speak at conferences in India and abroad. “It is highly regrettable and shameful that he is invited to deliver sermons. I hope this hypocrisy stops. Women empowerment is not just for seminars but to be practised where it matters,” she said.

In February 2015, the Delhi Police had booked Pachauri, then aged 74, after a woman colleague accused him of making sexual advances more than a decade earlier. This led to his resignation as chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a post he had held since 2002. Over 1,400-page charge sheet was filed by the Delhi Police on March 1, 2016, saying there was “sufficient evidence” against Pachauri that he had sexually harassed, stalked and threatened the complainant.

Contrary to Pachauri’s claims that he had himself resigned from the institute, the new chairman of TERI’s governing council, Ashok Chawla, told The Economic Times that the institute had taken a “conscious decision” against extending his contract after its internal complaints committee held him guilty of ‘sexual harassment’ and recommended disciplinary actions against him.

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