Delhi Industrial Tribunal – Consent of a woman and her explicit “no”

Dismissing an appeal filed by former Executive Vice Chairman of TERI R.K. Pachauri in a sexual harassment case, an Industrial Tribunal of Delhi’s Rouse Avenue Courts, has observed that a man should know the difference between explicit consent of a woman and her explicit “no” or implied consent.

Presiding Officer Ajay Goel rejected the appeal moved by Pachauri who expired in the year 2020 during the pendency of the case. His legal representatives were brought on record.

The Tribunal upheld the findings and observations made against Pichauri in the final inquiry report dated May 19, 2015, submitted by the Internal Complaints Committee and said that there was no illegality and infirmity in the same. “The perusal of report further shows that ICC has carefully examined and perused the SMSs and e-mails exchanged between both the parties and concluded that such repeated attempts to foster personal relationship with reporting employees is not only a conflict of interest and misuse of designation, it also amounts to a violation of the prevention of sexual harassment policy,” the judge said.

A complaint was filed before ICC in February 2015 by a woman who was employed as Research Assistant with Pichauri, accusing him of sexual harassment. However, Pichauri challenged the final inquiry report on the ground that it was abuse of principles of natural justice and that the enquiry was conducted in predetermined and haste manner.

Dismissing the appeal, the judge said that the impugned report and proceedings of ICC showed that the Committee followed all principles of natural justice and served as a neutral body and conducted proceedings in a fair manner.

“From the reports of ICC and the documents available on record, it is apparently clear that the punishment inflicted are based on deposition and testimonies of witnesses examined in proceedings and the grounds raised in the appeal are not sufficient to set aside the findings of ICC,” the Tribunal said.

It noted that the allegations against Pichauri, regarding sexual conversation and inappropriate conduct at workplace, were supported and corroborated by various e-mails and text messages exchanged between him and the complainant on various dates.

“So it is clear that appellant was misusing his designation and his behaviour was causing discomfort and harassment to complainant. The clear picture which emerges is that a “Man” should know the difference amongst explicit consensus by woman and her explicit “No” or her implied consent. In the present matter, the whole conversation and evidence points towards nothing but to the fact that appellant was thrusting on the complainant which was not at all appreciated by complainant,” the judge said.

The Tribunal added: “If it was the consent of complainant, she would never had come forward with the complaint. Numerous instances are available which are not repeated in the judgment but have been gone through by the Tribunal. The appellant has physically as well as emotionally blackmailed complainant. The words used by the appellant clearly shows the sexual harassment of complainant which were not to be liking of complainant.”

It was also observed that Pichauri was at very good position and should have been extra vigilant in his conduct.

“He should have been setting example in the institution but to the contrary, he had rather violated the dignity of the woman by committing sexual harassment which cannot be ignored by the court and cannot be endorsed. So the arguments of appellant are not tenable,” the Tribunal said.

Download the judgement copy here:  Metis-POSH-Case-Law-Dr.RK-Pachauri-deceased-Vs-Delhi-Industrial-Tribunal.pdf (1056 downloads)