The Delhi High Court Tuesday declined to stay the proceedings before an industrial tribunal, which is hearing former TERI chief R K Pachauri’s plea against the internal complaints committee’s (ICC’s) findings on him, in a case of sexual harassment.
The bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Jayant Nath said it cannot give any “interim order at the fag end” of the hearing before the Tribunal, where the matter is to be taken up on May 19. The plea seeking the stay had been filed by the victim of the alleged sexual harassment, who had claimed that the industrial tribunal did not have the jurisdiction to hear appeals against the ICC report.
“Now at the fag end, you (former TERI employee) are coming and pressing for the interim order, which cannot be granted at this stage,” the court said.
It, however, said that if the Tribunal passes any order, that order would “not be given effect to” till the next date of hearing before the High Court on June 1.
The bench has also asked TERI to provide a copy of its service rules to consider the question of the ICC and appeal process.
The directions were issued during hearing of a plea by a woman who alleged that TERI had not acted against Pachauri as per the recommendations of the ICC in connection with her sexual harassment complaint.
Senior advocate Indira Jaising, appearing for the complainant, argued that the plea has challenged the jurisdiction of the Tribunal, and its order issued on May 29 last year, which had stayed the implementation of the ICC report.
Pachauri had earlier filed an appeal before the Tribunal against the ICC’s report, contending that he was not given an opportunity to defend himself or present his case, which was a violation of the procedures for conducting inquiries as laid down in the Sexual Harassment of Women Act.
Another plea filed by the woman, seeking to vacate the stay granted by the Tribunal on the ICC’s findings, is also pending.
Last Saturday, a city court had taken cognizance of a chargesheet filed against Pachauri and issued summons to him to face trial as an accused for allegedly sexually harassing and outraging the modesty of a former colleague.
Pachauri had been granted anticipatory bail in the case in March 2015. In February last year, an FIR was registered against him on charges of sexual harassment under IPC sections 354, 354(a), 354(d) (molestation) and 506 (criminal intimidation).