NEW DELHI -- Today might be the day when RK Pachauri is finally asked to leave The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) until a court decides on a year-old sexual harassment charge against him. According to reports, the think tank's governing council has called for an urgent meeting today. It will decide how the organisation is going to respond to a rising chorus of outrage both within and outside the organisation against the 76-year-old's elevation to executive vice chairman in TERI despite serious criminal charges levelled against him.
The council will "revisit decisions" and is expected to "take a tough stand", reported The Times of India. According to the report, Pachauri may be forced to go on leave until the court decides on the case. New members may be added to the council today as well, according to TOI.
TERI has defended its previous inaction against Pachauri, claiming that the charges against him were "just allegations", and even quashed an internal report that found the climate scientist guilty of gross misconduct.
While the allegations against Pachauri first surfaced in February last year when the 29-year-old researcher filed a police complaint against him, matters came to a head this week after Pachauri's elevation to executive vice chairman and his induction to the governing council. The woman complainant wrote an open letter, calling the decision "shameless" on the part of TERI. A second woman, who had last year spoken out about facing similar harassment from Pachauri, also wrote a detailed statement on her experiences and made them public this week. Outrage also poured in from former students of TERI University, who refused to accept their degrees at their convocation if Pachauri wasn't removed as chancellor of the university.
The dominos fell quickly. First, Pachauri went on leave from TERI University, in what is perhaps the first time he has been forced out of his responsibilities connected with TERI. Today's council meeting may make further that.
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