The Delhi high court has lifted its order restraining publication of reports on the alleged harassment complaint by a female research analyst to Delhi police, against The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) director-general Rajendra K Pachauri, a joint winner of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize and the chairman of the UN’s influential Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Senior advocate Sudhir Nandrajog and Manish Srivastava were acting for Bennett Coleman and convinced Delhi high court Justice Jayant Nath on Wednesday, 18 February, to modify his previous ex parte injunction of Tuesday, 17 February, which had restrained Bennett Coleman from publishing articles about the sex harassment allegations against Pachauri.

The second order won by Nandrajog on 18 February, was published on the Delhi high court website on Thursday (19 February), and stated that the court would not restrain the defendants anymore from publishing reports relating to proceedings or the police complaint against Pauchauri.

Pachauri is represented by advocates Pavan Duggal, Rituraj Singh and Somnath De. Duggal declined to comment when contacted.

Sahara-Swatanter Kumar jurisprudence withers under BC attack

Legally India requested a copy of the original 17 February injunction from a staff member of Ketchum Sampark, a public relations firm acting for Pachauri. The firm did not share the order, but sent a statement to Legally India by email, stating: “We have no comments to offer as the matter is sub-justice.”

However, Newslaundry had obtained a copy of the 17 February injunction and has shared this with Legally India (see copy left).

In the 17 February injunction against Bennett Coleman and two other defendants, which is still not available on the Delhi high court website, Justice Jayant Nath stated:

It is urged that the plaintiff is being targeted by various vested interests. Reliance is placed on the judgment of the Supreme Court in the case of Reliance Petrochemicals Ltd. Vs Proprietors of Indian Express Newspapers [1989], Naresh Shridhar Mirajkar & Ors vs State of Maharashtra [1967], Sahara India Real Estate Corporate Ltd & Ors Vs. Securities and Exchange Board of India [2012]. Reliance is also placed on the judgment of this High Court in the case of Mr.Swatanter Kumar Vs Indian Express passed in [2014].

The plaintiff has made out a prima facie case. In my view the balance of convenience strongly in favour of the plaintiff. In case exparte injunction is not granted, irreparably injury would likely to cause to the plaintiff which it may not be possible to undo by any means. Till the next date the defendants are restrained from publishing or carry out any story or article or airing any report pertaining to the complaint as detailed in email dated 16.02.2015 of defendant no. 3 of alleged sexual harassment at work place.

It is understood that the first injunction was intended by Pachauri’s counsel to have been a John Doe injunction - binding against unnamed third parties - but the order does not appear to expressly mention any third parties as defendants.

In the order of 18 February Justice Nath said:

1. Learned counsel appearing for defendant Nos. 1 to 3 seeks 30 days’ time to file reply to the application and written statement. However, he submits that this court should not pass any restraint order restraining publication or airing of reports regarding any action taken by the police pursuant to the alleged complaint by the complainant or the final outcome of the proceedings of the complaint filed by the complainant before the Committee under The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 and connected court proceedings.

2. In my opinion, keeping in view the liberty of the Press under Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution of India for the time being, in the interest of justice, interim order passed on 17.02.2015 is modified to the above extent. It is ordered accordingly.

3. With the above modification, order dated 17.02.2015 shall continue to operate till the next date of hearing. 4. List on 08.04.2015.

Chinamyi Arun, research director at the Centre for Communication Governance at NLU Delhi and fellow at the Centre for Internet and Society, had criticised the Sahara-Swatanter Kumar jurisprudence in 2014, writing:

[Sahara India Real Estate Corp. Ltd v. SEBI] created an instrument — the “postponement order” — for litigants, such that they can have media reports of a pending case restricted. The manner in which this is used in the Swatanter Kumar judgment raises very worrying questions about how the judiciary views the boundaries of the right to freedom of expression, particularly in the context of reporting court proceedings.

Published timelines

On 17 February, the Economic Times had reported that Pachauri had allegedly sexually harassed a 29-year-old member of staff with “unwanted physical advances besides being the recipient of SMS and WhatsApp messaging, emails and a handwritten note” since September 2013.

But the Economic Times tweeted on 18 February at 11:43am that:

The link to the RK Pachauri story has been removed following an injunction from the honourable Delhi high court.

Several responses to the tweet, posted screenshots of the full original article, apparently from the e-paper edition of the newspaper.

Pauchari had denied the allegation to the ET, reportedly stating:

The said email has indicated misuse of my computer resources and communication devices, without my permission or consent. From your email, I have come to know the factum that my computer resources including my email ids, mobile phone and WhatsApp messages have been hacked and that unknown cyber criminals have gone ahead and have unauthorisedly accessed my computer resources and communication devices and further committed various criminal activities.

After winning a relaxation of the injunction, the Economic Times posted a longer article on 19 February at 4am, re-stating the allegations of the original report:

The FIR alleges Pachauri committed offences under Sections 354, 354A, 354D, 506 of IPC, which deal with outraging the modesty of a woman, sexual harassment, stalking, and criminal intimidation, respectively. Prashant Mehndiratta, a senior Delhi High Court lawyer representing the complainant, confirmed that an FIR has been registered after the alleged victim's statement was recorded, a process that took over oneand-a-half hours.

However, a statement sent to the ET from a Pachauri spokesperson stated:

The Delhi High Court has been pleased to pass order dated 17/02/2015. The said matter came up for hearing on 18/2/2015 wherein modifications have been made in the said order for defendant no. 1, 2 and 3 only.

However subject to the modifications in the order concerning defendants no 1 to 3, the order dated 17/02/2015 is applicable to the defendants and continues to be operational.

Given the fact that the said matter is currently subjudice and the Hon'ble High Court is seized of the matter, it will not be prudent or appropriate to comment anything on the matter pending adjudication before the Hon'ble Delhi High Court.

Meanwhile, Pachauri has moved anticipatory bail plea before the high court in the police complaint against him. Justice SP Garg, however, asked him to move the proper forum - the sessions court.

Newslaundry reported, alongside a more detailed chronology of the published story, that Outlook had carried the story and details from the complaint on Wednesday evening, citing details from the police complaint as well as passages of a sexual nature from Pachauri’s previous novel.

UK newspaper The Independent (“UN climate chief Rajendra Pachauri investigated about sexual harassment”) and other international and Indian papers have since carried the story of the complaint.

Click to show 12 comments
at your own risk
(alt+shift+c)
By reading the comments you agree that they are the (often anonymous) personal views and opinions of readers, which may be biased and unreliable, and for which Legally India therefore has no liability. If you believe a comment is inappropriate, please click 'Report to LI' below the comment and we will review it as soon as practicable.
refresh Filter out low-rated comments. Show all comments. Sort chronologically
1
Show?
Like +3 Object -3 Seema Sapra 20 Feb 15, 10:11
Good that the High Court modified the order and has allowed the complaint/ FIR/ investigation to be covered by the media.

Such an injunction would have completely subverted the Constitution.
Reply Report to LI
2
Show?
Like +4 Object -2 Donna Laframboise 20 Feb 15, 22:12
The beginning of this article describes Dr. Pachauri as "a joint winner of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize." This is incorrect.

The organization which he chairs - not Dr. Pachauri himself - shared the Peace Prize with Al Gore. The IPCC has issued a formal statement on this matter that reads, in part:

"The prize was awarded to the IPCC as an organization, and not to any individual associated with the IPCC. Thus it is incorrect to refer to any IPCC official, or scientist who worked on IPCC reports, as a Nobel laureate or Nobel Prize winner." [bold added]

That statement may be found online at: http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/nobel/Nobel_statement_final.pdf
Reply Report to LI
2.1
Show?
Like +2 Object -1 Seema Sapra 21 Feb 15, 07:42
Pachauri is routinely described as a Nobel laureate in the Indian press and at events. He should have clarified that the IPCC won the prize and not him.

The fact that he never did this points to a lack of moral integrity.
Reply Report to LI
3
Show?
Like +2 Object -2 Seema Sapra 21 Feb 15, 20:23
Wow, read the incriminating text and email messages here http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/rk-pachauri-the-energy-research-institute-harassment-charges/1/420185.html

No wonder Pachauri desperately claimed his email/ phone was hacked.
Reply Report to LI
4
Show?
Like +4 Object -1 Garib Manus 22 Feb 15, 00:26
I do not wish to defend Mr Pachuari's attempts to obtain a gag order. However, the Indian courts had granted similar order in the case involving retired SC judge Swatanter Kumar. Now that court has reversed the gag order in the Pachuari matter, why should it not be able to do so in the Swatanter Kumar case as well?
Reply Report to LI
5
Show?
Like +0 Object -0 Seema Sapra 23 Feb 15, 17:37
This woman did the right thing in going to ordinary lawyers and not to the Vrinda Grover -Indira Jaising brigade.

With all due respect, Vrinda Grover and Jaising have spectacularly failed the Swatanter Kumar complainant and the ex -distrct court judge complainant, whether by design or otherwise.

Also see what Jaising states on her twitter account "Appeal to the Press , do not report the precise details of the complaint against R K Pachauri, the complainant has a right to her privacy"

This is the worst possible advice to the Press from the complainant's perspective when documentary evidence establishes that her complaint is true.

So Jaising would have wanted the Press to not publish the incriminating text and email messages - how would that have helped the complainant? It would certainly have helped Pachauri.

Media reporting is an important part of fighting a battle like this and only because the press has reported the precise details of the complaint, Pachauri will be held accountable.

I really wonder about Jaising sometimes. She failed spectacularly in the Bhopal gas cases as well.
Reply Report to LI
6
Show?
Like +0 Object -0 Seema Sapra 23 Feb 15, 18:33
Two US blogs have carried two very hard-hitting pieces on the Pachauri story

read http://nofrakkingconsensus.com/2015/02/21/chairman-pachauris-messy-messages/
and
https://thepointman.wordpress.com/2015/02/19/the-ultimate-hack/

These show why it was so important for the media to report the full details of the complaint.

I expect Pachauri might soon be forced out from his positions at the IPCC and TERI.

Jaising's supposed concern for the complainant's privacy seems wrong. The complainant has filed a police complaint and its logical conclusion would be that she give evidence in a criminal trial.

And why should we continue with this Indian tradition that a woman victim of sexual harassment/ assault must hide from public view. Hiding from the public does't really help the victims as people in their daily lives always know their full stories.

Sarah Jacob survived the Ganguly episode by coming out publicly.

The Swatater Kumar complainant has been kept invisible and as a result has been targeted.

It is extremely important that in a sexual harassment case, the victim emerge publicly as her credibility is an important aspect. Also it is easier to attack an anonymous complainant than an actual woman victim.
Reply Report to LI
7
Show?
Like +0 Object -0 Seema Sapra 24 Feb 15, 13:12
So now instead of hacking defence, Pachauri says woman did not object to his 'amorous' correspondence for 15 months LOL

see http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics-and-nation/teri-chief-rk-pachauri-gets-interim-relief-from-arrest/articleshow/46350358.cms

He has gone on leave from TERI and gotten himself admitted to a hospital.
Reply Report to LI
8
Show?
Like +0 Object -0 Seema Sapra 25 Feb 15, 08:23
Apparently the UN has issued a statement that it will not separately investigate the sexual harassment complaints.

The complainant had a good case to seek a UN investigation, but it has weakened a little with Pachauri's resignation.

Does she still have grounds to seek a UN investigation? I think so. Her lawyers should look into this.
Reply Report to LI
9
Show?
Like +0 Object -0 Seema Sapra 25 Feb 15, 12:27
Actually the UN has not declared that it will not conduct an inquiry into sexual harassment by Pachauri as IPCC chief.

The statement on states "Asked if the UN would initiate an inquiry into reports alleging Pachauri of sexual harassment, Dujarric replied in the negative and said that “we have seen the press reports of the case and I understand the case is being investigated by national authorities and that is where it stands."

Indian Press is spinning it as a refusal by the UN to investigate.

If the woman approaches the UN seeking a UN investigation on the basis that Pachauri used/ misused his IPCC position to harass her, then the UN will have to launch an investigation.

Pachauri's text messages already show that he harassed her even while chairing IPCC meetings. Plus did she help him with IPCC related work? What was her exact role and designation in his office? How was her salaray being paid and from what funds?

The complainant has a good case to force a UN investigation.

The woman has so far not approached the UN, hence the UN answer. If she approaches them formally the UN position will change.
Reply Report to LI
10
Show?
Like +0 Object -0 singhal 08 Mar 15, 21:51
Media houses like Benett and Coleman incite violent mob mentality. I saw in a media article cooment about lynching Pachauri at India Gate. This is not about freedom of speech anymore
Reply Report to LI
11
Show?
Like +0 Object -0 singhal 08 Mar 15, 21:55
Shame on Bennett Coleman . There was a comment in Indian Express about lynching Pachauri at India Gate. Shame on our legal system and media to incite such mob and violent feelings! See the Nagaland case
Reply Report to LI

refreshSort chronologically Filter out low-rated comments. Show all comments.