Additional Sessions Judge allows Dr. Pachauri to visit TERI offices, except the head office, Gurgaon branch
The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) Director General Dr. R.K. Pachauri, has been permitted by the Court to return to work at the think-tank.
Dr. Pachauri has been on a long-term leave from The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), where the complainant still works.
Additional sessions judge Raj Kumar Tripathi yesterday amended the direction that restricted the TERI Director from entering the premises. He is now allowed to visit all but two branches of TERI, including one where the complainant works. "Imposition of restrictions of accused from visiting all the premises of TERI would be too harsh," said the court.
Prashant Mendiratta, lawyer for the complainant, told news agency AFP that the police had produced "overwhelming evidence" that Dr Pachauri was "dictating to witnesses what to state to the police". He further contended that since all TERI offices are interconnected and there is every chance of tampering of evidence if Pachauri is allowed to visit any of them.
Mendiratta also argued that the application seeking cancellation of Pachauri’s bail, moved by the complainant, is pending before the Delhi High Court. Therefore, he said, his plea about visiting the TERI office should be adjourned till the application in the HC is disposed of.
Rebutting his argument, Pachauri’s counsel said that while adjourning the matter, the High Court had observed that it was not concerned with the trial court proceedings.
Representing Pachauri, Senior Advocate Ramesh Gupta argued, “Most of the prosecution witnesses have been questioned by police. Because of the condition imposed by the court, my client is not able to work from any of the TERI offices. Police alleges that my client has not cooperated with the investigation. However, he has every right to keep silent. Everything was videographed and one can see how he has cooperated with the investigation.”
Opposing Pachauri’s plea, the additional public prosecutor argued that a few witnesses from the head office of TERI and from its Defence Colony office are yet to be examined and therefore the TERI chief should not be allowed to enter these offices.
“The order dated March 21 is modified to the extent that the accused shall not enter the head office and Gurgaon office of TERI till the investigation is over in the case. However, he is at liberty to visit and work from the rest of the TERI offices,” the court said. The Complainant is preparing to challenge the permission next week.
On February 13, an FIR was registered against Mr. Pachauri on charges of sexual harassment under IPC sections 354, 354(a), 354(d) (molestation) and 506 (criminal intimidation).
The High Court had granted anticipatory bail to Dr. R.K. Pachauri on 19th February, till 23rd February. The District Court had then, keeping in mind Dr. Pachauri’s medical condition, extended the interim protection till 26th February.
Several conditions were imposed with the bail order and the petition notes that Dr. Pachauri has been “meticulously complying” with these orders.
Dr. Pachauri submitted that he is “facing tremendous hardship both psychological and financial as corollary of the ban on his visiting his office i.e. TERI premises.”
The Petition notes that even though the FIR in the case was registered on 18th February, no investigation has been conducted till date.
“The applicant has been rendered unemployed since February which has adversely affected his impeccable credibility and hard work done in the field of environmental sciences. TERI has contributed immensely in the field of environmental awareness which has been recognized by the world at large, the continuous absence of the Applicant creating hindrance in the functioning of the organization. It is also submitted that if the Applicant is not permitted to work in the organization, his job shall be endangered due to his continuous absence. Further the applicant is facing severe financial constraint because he is forbidden from continuing his legitimate occupation as consequence of the condition imposed by this Hon’ble Court,” the Petition says.
According to the petition, more than 50 days have elapsed since the order of the Court and since then the Police had adequate opportunity to conduct and conclude the investigation as far as TERI premises are concerned. It hence lays down 10 grounds for seeking permission of the Court to allow him to resume his work in TERI premises.
Earlier in February, following the charges, Dr. Pachauri had to resign from his post as Chairman of the Nobel Prize winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), an organization he has headed since 2002.
“The IPCC needs strong leadership and dedication of time and full attention by the chair in the immediate future, which under the current circumstances I may be unable to provide, as shown by my inability to travel to Nairobi to chair the plenary session of the panel (IPCC) this week. I have, therefore, taken a decision to step down from my position as Chair of the IPCC some months before completion of my term, and with effect from February 24, 2015,” the 75-year-old globally known face of IPCC wrote in his resignation letter addressed to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
Senior Ramesh Gupta and Advocate Ashish Dixit appeared for Mr.Pachaury