Recently, a Delhi court has ruled that Rajendra Pachauri, the former chairman of a Nobel prize-winning UN panel on climate change, will stand trial on charges of stalking and sexual harassment of a former employee. A former employee of The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), filed a police report against Pachauri last year, claiming that he made inappropriate advances soon after she joined in 2013. Earlier this year police filed 1,400 pages of evidence, including text messages and emails from Pachauri, and testimony from 23 witnesses, many of them TERI employees. Judge Shivani Chauhan said the evidence was sufficient to proceed with the trial. Prior to this, TERI’s internal complaints committee conducted its own investigation; after questioning 50 employees, it concluded that the woman’s claims were valid.
In February last year, Pachauri resigned as chair of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Last month he stepped down as head of TERI to “get engaged in other interests which I have harboured over the past few years for activities at the global level”. Before resigning, Pachauri had headed Teri for 34 years. Under his leadership the organisation had become renowned as a research centre for green energy and sustainable use of natural resources.
We had earlier reported about the Governing Council of TERI deciding to sever association with Pachauri. We strongly condemn this evil of sexual harassment, and urge all organizations and individuals to deal with this issue very seriously. According to one of the recent surveys conducted by Nimbuzz, a cross-platform mobile calling & messaging app, Indian women don’t feel safe at their workplace. The survey, titled Nimbuzz – Pulse of the Nation, reveals that “47% of women feel their top issue at work is sexual harassment vis-a-vis inequality in pay and unequal opportunities.” Ignoring instances or casually dealing with such cases will lead to more bad than good, and will harm society adversely. We hope that this case serves as an example to everyone, to give weightage to issues of sexual harassment, and to raise our voices against it.
CSR’s Gender Training Institute has been working on the cause of sexual harassment at the workplace for quite some time. While members of the GTI regularly serve as members of various ICCs (as per the mandate that one member of the ICC needs to belong to an NGO), GTI also regularly conducts various gender sensitization trainings for different organizations, towards the prevention of sexual harassment.
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