NEW DELHI: R K Pachauri, facing sexual harassment charges, today proceeded on leave from TERI and TERI Governing Council but will continue to be research institutions’ Executive Vice Chairman, even as B V Sreekantan resigned as Chairman amidst ongoing protests over Pachauri’s elevation.
The decision was announced after the Governing Council meeting today following criticism over appointment of Pachauri as Executive Vice Chairman early this week.
“Pachauri, who had been at the Head of the Institute since 1982 will be on leave from TERI, TERI Governing Council, and TERI University till this is reviewed by the Governing Council given the subjudice nature of the matter,” said a statement issued by TERI.
While the Governing Council meet was happening, a group of women right activists held protests outside TERI’s office demanding removal of Pachauri.
TV channels running breaking news shud read TERI statemnt carefully as Pachauri was nt Chairman bt Executive Vice Chairman & he continues to— richa sharma (@richaht) February 12, 2016
The council having members like former Chairman, HSBC India Naina Lal Kidwai and Chairman HDFC Deepak Parekh also appointed Ashok Chawla, former Finance Secretary to the Government of India and former Chairman of the Competition Commission as its new Chairman. Sreekantan, who resigned as the Chairman of the Council today, had been a Member of the Council for over 40 years. There was no reason given for his resignation.
The council also inducted the new Director General, Ajay Mathur, as a member of the council who will operate with full executive powers.
“The process for the replacement of Dr Pachauri as Director General of TERI culminated in the appointment of Dr Ajay Mathur as Director General with full executive powers on July 23, 2015. However, as Dr. Mathur was able to join only on February 8, 2016 after he was finally relieved by the Government of India, the Governing Council effected various interim arrangements so as not to destabilize the operations of the Institute,” said the statement.
With two incidents of sexual harassment cases against Pachauri coming in the light, the council went into a damage control mode and said that they support the rights of women and has consistently ensured the provision of a secure environment and a safe work place for its employees.
“TERI, is a unique organisation with a global presence, and a staff strength of 1200 people, of which over 33 percent are women. At the highest echelons of the Institute, 14 of the 30 Directors are women,” it added.
Pachauri went on leave as Chancellor of TERI University Thursday after a group of students decided not to accept degrees from him during convocation on March 7.
The woman activists submitted a memorandum to TERI authorities, saying that placing someone accused of sexual harassment in a position of authority, is to allow him to influence witnesses in the going case.
“It also puts other woman of TERI at risk. He should be removed from all positions of authority in TERI pending the final judgement on criminal cases against him,” said Uma Chakravarti of All India Democratic Women’s Association.