Granting relief to former TERI chief R K Pachauri, who is facing charges of sexual harassment at the workplace filed by a former colleague, the Delhi High Court Friday dismissed a plea filed by the woman to cancel his bail.
The bench of Justice S P Garg refused to cancel bail, observing that “there was no manifest error” in the order granting it, and the petitioner had “failed to impress” why his custodial interrogation was required.
The woman researcher had sought cancellation of the anticipatory bail granted to Pachauri in March last year, alleging he was in a position to influence witnesses in his favour. A complaint had also been filed against Pachauri in January this year, by a male researcher at The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), alleging that “pressure” was being put on him to speak to the victim for an “out-of-court settlement”.
The court, however, noted that the researcher, Rahul Singh, had not actually approached the complainant with any such offer. “As the complainant herself did not reveal if at any time Mr Rahul Singh had approached her for any such out-of-court settlement at the behest of TERI officers… The victim was never approached either by the accused or the officers named by Mr Rahul Singh for settlement. Though, Mr Rahul Singh was allegedly approached in July/October, 2015, for no plausible reasons, he came forward to report it promptly. This complaint has been lodged after he tendered resignation on 11.01.2016. Its authenticity and genuineness is to be ascertained during investigation / trial.” observed the court.
The bench, in its order, observed that “very cogent and overwhelming circumstances” needed to be proved for cancellation of bail. “Power to grant bail is not to be exercised as if the punishment before trial is being imposed. The material considerations in such a situation are whether the accused would be readily available for his trial and whether he is likely to abuse the discretion granted in his favour by tampering with the evidence,” said the court. Pachauri has denied all the allegations levelled against him.