New Delhi, April 22 (IANS) A day after environmentalist R.K. Pachauri ‘stepped down’ from TERI’s governing council, lawyer Vrinda Grover on Friday said he should have been asked to step down by authorities or suspended long ago.
Pachauri, a former executive chairman of The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), on Thursday issued a statement that “it was time for me to move away and get engaged in other interests which I have harboured over the past few years for activities at the global level”.
The scientist should have been ousted from the organisation long time back when its Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) found him guilty, Grover, who is representing a former TERI employee in sexual harassment case against Pachauri, told IANS.
“The person facing serious criminal case and against whom there are other serious allegations should have actually been asked to step down or be suspended long ago. The action has come far too late, over a year after the sexual harassment complaint was made,” Grover said.
She said that the sexual harassment case against him in the court will continue.
“What is important for the country’s women is the signal the organisations of high stature give. The signal that the law and time demands is we must take sexual harassment at workplaces very seriously and any compliant should be acted upon promptly,” she said.
Pachauri was accused of sexually harassing a female colleague in 2015. He stepped down as chairperson of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in February last year.
In November, the woman researcher who accused him of sexual harassment quit her job at TERI, alleging that she was treated badly.
On February 8 this year, Pachauri was appointed the executive vice chairman of the organisation. After severe criticism, TERI on February 12 asked him to proceed on indefinite leave.
“I’m afraid TERI has not set the best of examples… We do know he has been held guilty by the ICC and there is a charge sheet pending (against him). It is about time to make work culture in India in tune with protection of women’s rights and dignity,” the lawyer said.
Another woman complainant who levelled sexual harassment charges against Pachauri through an open letter in March spoke to Grover earlier in the day and expressed her anger over TERI’s alleged inaction against Pachauri.
“Her comment to me was why wasn’t the step taken a year ago. It would have given confidence to women both inside and outside TERI. The TERI governing council has not played a responsible role,” Grover said.