NEW DELHI -- TERI Director General, Rajendra Pachauri, who is accused of sexually harassing a 29-year-old woman colleague, was today granted permission by a Delhi court to travel abroad for a series of meetings in his official capacity as head of the organisation.
This is the first time that Pachauri has been allowed to travel abroad in an official capacity since the sexual-harassment allegations surfaced in February.
Pachauri will visit China and Japan between 21 August and 1 September and meet key officials and scientists, including a former environment minister, to discuss climate- and green energy-related projects. He had resigned from the chairmanship of the Intergovernmental Panel On Climate Change this year, days after the sexual-harassment scandal surfaced.
According to depositions made in court and viewed by HuffPost India, Pachauri will first go to China and address a "strategic dialogue" at the United Nations Environment Programme's International Ecosystem Management Partnership (IEMP). He will also meet leading international climate scientists and lecture on 'The IPCC Fifth Assessment Report,' the latest independent, international scientific consensus on the impact of global warming and its impact on climate and prepared during Pachauri's chairmanship.
In the next leg of his travel, he will visit Japan and meet Dr. Wakako Hironaka, Japan's former environment minister, who is incidentally also married to one of the TERI governing council members that has stood by Pachauri in the face of allegations against him.
Pachauri had been removed as DG last month but he continues to operate in his official capacity, as his replacement, Ajay Mathur, has reportedly not been able to join yet. The date of Mathur's joining hasn't been announced. Mathur continues to work as Director General of the Bureau of Energy Efficiency with the government of India.
Pachauri told court that denying him the chance to attend these meetings would violate Article 19 (1)(g) of the Indian Constitution, which allows its citizens to pursue their occupation. In the application, Pachauri has submitted that he is a "highly respected man of 74 years," mentioning the Padma Bhushan and Padma Vibhushan awarded to him.
In February, Pachauri was accused of sexually harassing and touching his younger colleague inappropriately over a course of one and half years, a charge that he has denied, alleging instead that his email and phone had been hacked and that he was unaware of the woman's allegations.