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Articles on panel findings in Pachauri case not a violation: HC

Rajendra K Pachauri,

New Delhi: Delhi High Court today said it was “prima facie” of the view that there was “no violation” of its order by a media house which had published the findings of an internal complaints committee against TERI Director General Rajendra K Pachauri.

“We fail to see any violation. Prima facie we do not think there is a violation,” a bench of justices Badar Durrez Ahmed and Sanjeev Sachdeva said after Pachauri’s counsel argued that the court’s May 12 order has been violated by the media house.

On May 12 the court had directed the media house to comply with section 16 of the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act under which there is a prohibition on publication or making known to the public, contents of the complaint, identity of complainant as well as the report of the internal complaints committee (ICC).

Senior advocate Dayan Krishnan, appearing for Pachauri, contended there was “blatant violation” of the court’s order by the media house by publishing the ICC’s findings/report before it was accepted by the district committee or the appropriate authority.

The media house, on the other hand, argued that once the report was made, “justice was secured” and thereafter, publication of the findings was not a violation of the law or the court’s direction.

Krishnan opposed the contention saying justice would be secured only after the ICC’s findings are implemented and not before. Till then at least the findings should not have been published, he said.

The court, however, did not agree with the claim, but said it will hear arguments on the issue on August 10, after Krishnan persisted there was a violation of the Act.

74-year-old Pachauri, who is facing allegations of sexual harassment, approached the division bench after the single bench on February 18 had refused his request for complete restraint on the media from reporting on the outcome of the inquiry initiated against him under the Act.

Pachauri has challenged the single bench order allowing the publication and airing of reports regarding the action taken by police, the proceedings of the complaint filed by the complainant before the committee, and connected court proceedings.

On February 13, an FIR was registered against Pachauri on charges of sexual harassment under sections 354, 354(a), 354(d) (molestation) and 506 (criminal intimidation) of the IPC at Lodhi Colony Police Station.

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