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Dr. R.K. Pachauri v. Union of India and Others, in the case of sexual harassment vis-à-vis observance of principles of natural justice


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Dr. R.K. Pachauri v. Union of India and Others, in the case of sexual harassment vis-à-vis observance of principles of natural justice

In the recent ruling of Dr. R.K. Pachauri v. Union of India and Others, the New Delhi Industrial Tribunal has reiterated the importance of following principles of natural justice and confirmed that the Internal Complaints Committee of the Energy Research Institute had followed the principles of natural justice in resolving the sexual harassment complaint against the accused, Dr. R. K. Pachauri.


 The Background

It is averred that appellant and respondent shared a very cordial and respectable relationship since beginning and the Complainant Respondent used to accompany the appellant for making several foreign trips for addressing conferences by him. Even family of Respondent also came in close contact with appellant and they used to have meals together on various locations including home of the Respondent. It is further averred that Respondent developed some ailment due to which she was not able to give her 100% to work and she was advised by appellant to take proper medical assistance and he started delegating work to other employees but Respondent raised objections to the same vide e-mail. Thereafter, Respondent was asked to contact Dr. Adholeya for an assignment in TERI but she refused the same by another e-mail to which appellant responded that he is not able to assign any work to her so she should speak to Dr. Adholeya.


 Role of ICC

The complainant alleged that she had been sexually harassed by the accused, and she filed a complaint before the ICC. The ICC investigated the matter and through its final inquiry report dated May 19, 2015, held that the accused was guilty of sexual harassment.


Alleged ICC for violation of principles of natural justice

Aggrieved by the ICC’s report, the accused filed an appeal under Section 18(1) of the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 (the “Act”), alleging that the ICC had not followed the correct procedure and had violated the principles of natural justice.


The Tribunal’s decision

The Tribunal dismissed the appeal and stated that there was no reason for the Tribunal to interfere with the ICC’s report, as there was sufficient evidence on record to establish a case of sexual harassment.


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Collated and Compiled by the internal staff of Karma Global with the knowledge and expertise that they possess, besides adaptation, illustration, derivation, transformation, collection and auto generation for its monthly newsletter Issue 17 of November 2023 and in case of specific or general information or compliance updates for that matter, kindly reach out to the Marketing Team – kush@karmamgmt.com / yashika@karmamgmt.com

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