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RK Pachauri: Division Bench to hear matter; Indira Jaising & Rajeev Nayyar appear

Smrithi Suresh

RK Pachauri: Division Bench to hear matter; Indira Jaising & Rajeev Nayyar appear

The TERI researcher who was allegedly sexually harassed by ex-TERI chief RK Pachauri, has approached the High Court once again.

This time around, the researcher has sought to question the manner in which TERI has dealt with the issue.

During the last hearing, Justice RS Endlaw had sought details on TERI’s funding  so as to determine maintainability of the petition. Today the issue of maintainability was tackled on an altogether different footing by Pachauri’s lawyers.

Senior Counsel Rajeev Nayyar, appearing for Pachauri argued that there existed an alternate remedy of adjudication for the victim, which had already been availed of.

He submitted,

“As per Section 13 of The Sexual Harassment of Woman at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act of 2013, the Internal Committee is supposed to take action as per the Inquiry report. If the person is still aggrieved with the steps taken under Section 13, then there is also a provision for appeal …

..the said appellate authority has been approached by the woman and it has taken cognizance of the issue, pursuant to which it passed certain orders. The matter is listed before the appellate authority in October so this petition is completely premature.” 

In response, Justice Endlaw asked senior counsel Indira Jaising, appearing on behalf to the researcher,  as to whether she intended to challenge the relevant Rule itself (which provided for appeal) to which Jaising responded in the affirmative.

Taking note of this submission, Justice Endlaw said,

“Then I lose jurisdiction to hear the matter. If you are challenging the Rule (per se), then the matter has to be heard by a Division Bench.”

In spite of repeated attempts by Jaising to address the Bench on maintainability of the petition (which was the question that arose on the last date of hearing), Justice Endlaw refused to hear the issue and posted it for hearing before a Division Bench.

The matter will now be heard on September 21.