The Governing Council of TERI met on Friday and appointed Ashok Chawla, former Union Finance Secretary and former Chairman of the Competition Commission, as its new chairman.
The Council met after >the elevation of climate scientist R.K. Pachauri — indicted in a >sexual harassment case — to the post of Executive Vice Chairman on Monday, received widespread criticism from the media and women’s rights lawyers.
In a statement released to the press on Friday, TERI reiterated that the new Director General, Ajay Mathur, as a Member of the Council will operate with full executive powers. Mr. Mathur was brought in to replace Mr. Pachauri after the latter was removed from the DG’s post following a Council meeting last year.
Prof. B.V. Sreekantan, resigned as the Chairman of the Council. A member of the Council for over 40 years, Mr. Sreekantan was in the Council when the decision to appoint Mr. Pachauri as executive Vice Chairman was taken.
In an apparent defence of its decision to retain Mr. Pachauri in the organisation, despite the ongoing investigations against him in the case of sexual harassing a junior colleague, the statement says that “the Governing Council effected various interim arrangements so as not to destabilize the operations of the Institute” until Dr. Mathur was relieved from his government post at the Bureau of Energy Efficiency earlier.
The statement also confirmed that Mr. Pachauri, who had been at the Head of the Institute since 1982 >will be on leave from TERI, TERI Governing Council, and TERI University, till his appointment is reviewed by the Governing Council, given the sub-judice nature of the sexual harassment case.
The statement also mentions that the 1200-member organisation TERI, employs 33 per cent women among its staff. Also 14 of the 30 Directors are women. “The Governing Council of TERI supports the rights of women and has consistently ensured the provision of a secure environment and a safe work place for its employees,” it states.