NEW DELHI: TERI today told Delhi High Court that a plea by a woman employee alleging that it had not acted action against its chief R K Pachauri as recommended by an internal complaints committee (ICC) in connection with her sexual harassment complaint, was premature.
The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) said the petition was not maintainable at this stage as there was an alternative remedy of approaching an appellate authority, prescribed by the Sexual Harassment at Workplace Act and Rules, against non-implementation of the ICC recommendations. Depending on the decision of the appellate authority, a plea can be moved before the court, TERI's counsel told Justice R S Endlaw.
However, the counsel for the woman employee said they have challenged the Sexual Harassment at Workplace Rules to the extent that they vest a tribunal set up under the Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Act to deal with appeals against ICC report or non-implementation of its recommendations. The woman's counsel also said they have amended their petition to challenge the jurisdiction of the tribunal.
By way of the amended petition, they have also challenged the tribunal's May 29 order staying implementation of the ICC report, the counsel added. While allowing their plea to amend their petition, the court said since they have challenged the constitutionality of the Rules, the matter will be heard by a division bench. The court, thereafter, ordered that the matter be listed before an appropriate bench on September 21.
Earlier, the woman's counsel had alleged in court that TERI and its governing council had "primarily failed to treat it as a misconduct or suspend him (Pachauri)" as recommended by ICC in its report. The counsel had also alleged that TERI was treating the ICC report "like a backroom inquiry" and sought its service rules saying there was a "lack of transparency" on how the organisation, funded by the government, worked.
On July 17, Pachauri was allowed by a Delhi court to enter his office premises, except the head office here and a branch in Gurgaon. On February 13, an FIR was registered against Pachauri on charges of sexual harassment under IPC sections 354, 354(a), 354(d) (molestation) and 506 (criminal intimidation).
Pachauri had moved the trial court for relief following the direction of the High Court, which had on February 19 given him interim protection from arrest till February 23.