Claiming that R K Pachauri, Director General of The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), is “not fit to be considered an eminent educationalist” following charges of sexual harassment against him, former Additional Solicitor General of India Indira Jaising has written to Human Development Resource Minister Smriti Irani, seeking Pachauri’s removal as Chancellor of TERI University.
Sources said that in a letter dated February 26, Jaising has urged Irani to recommend to the varsity’s relevant authority that Pachauri be removed, at least until he clears himself of the serious charges levelled against him.
Pachauri is under investigation following allegations that he sexually harassed a woman colleague at TERI. While denying the allegations, he has gone on leave from TERI and resigned from the PM’s council on climate change.
“Dr Pachauri, in light of the grave charges of sexual harassment levelled against him by a woman colleague, is currently not fit to be considered an eminent educationalist or an eminent public figure. He has ceased to be eligible to hold the position of Chancellor under the regulations and hence must be removed,” the letter states.
“…it is highly improper that he should head an educational institution of advanced learning, having been accused of a crime involving moral turpitude,” it adds.
Jaising has further said that retaining Pachauri as Chancellor “would amount to sending a message to students that such behaviour from a Chancellor is tolerated if not acceptable”. “While I understand that it is for the courts to decide on his guilt, it is imperative that your Minister and the UGC take note of these facts and call upon the founding society of the University to remove him as Chancellor of the University, in accordance with UGC rules and norms for acceptable conduct in public life,” she says, adding that it would be “preferable” if Pachauri resigned voluntarily.
Expressing “surprise” that while he has resigned from the IPCC panel, he has not retained TERI University’s Chancellor seat, Jaising’s letter says this “appears to be a case of double standards being maintained by him, one for international bodies and one for Indian bodies”.
“If he fails to resign or if the founding trust takes no action against him, you may be left with no option but to withdraw the Deemed University status of Teri University,” the letter adds.
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