7:46 am - Monday December 11, 2017

Justice Ganguly case: Centre likely to decide on Presidential reference today

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Grounds for my removal untenable: Justice Ganguly in resignation letter
Grounds for my removal untenable: Justice Ganguly in resignation letter "Justice Asok Kumar Ganguly spoke to me over telephone and said that he is thinking of resigning (as WBHRC chief)," former Attorney General Soli Sorabjee told PTI on being asked about reports that the judge has written to him on the issue. During the telephonic conversation, Justice Asok Kumar Ganguly said so many things are being said about him and wanted his view. Sorabjee said he had told Justice Asok Kumar Ganguly that it will be a "wise decision" to resign. Justice Asok Kumar Ganguly's talk with Sorabjee came close on the heels of the Union Cabinet on Thursday approving a proposal for sending a Presidential reference to the Supreme Court on the issue, which was seen as a step towards his removal as WBHRC chairman. A three-judge Supreme Court panel had indicted Justice Asok Kumar Ganguly by holding that the statement of the intern, both written and oral, had prima facie disclosed "an act of unwelcome behaviour (unwelcome verbal/non-verbal conduct of sexual nature)" by the judge with her in the Le Meridien hotel room on December 24 last year. Justice Asok Kumar Ganguly has denied the allegations of the law intern and blamed "powerful interests" of trying to tarnish his image due to certain judgments delivered by him. In a letter of Chief Justice of India P Sathasivam last month, Justice Asok Kumar Ganguly said he had never harassed the law intern nor made any unwelcome advances towards her or any other female intern. When contacted in Kolkata earlier in the day, Justice Asok Kumar Ganguly was non-committal. "Lets see," was his answer when asked by PTI about his future course of action in the case. The former Supreme Court judge Asok Kumar Ganguly refused to elaborate anything further.

New Delhi –  The Union Cabinet is likely to take a decision today on sending a Presidential reference to the Supreme Court for conducting a probe into allegations of sexual harassment against Justice AK Ganguly, who is accused of sexually harassing a young law intern.

“The Home Ministry will place a note before the cabinet tomorrow. The cabinet will take a call,” Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde said yesterday.

Sources said once the Cabinet clears the proposal, it will be sent to President Pranab Mukherjee for approval. Since the President can only act on the advice of the Cabinet, he had referred the matter to the government.

Once the Cabinet gives its nod, the reference will be sent to the President, who will then send the matter to the Chief Justice of India seeking a probe into the issue based on the points raised in the reference.

Sources said the Home Ministry will also place before the Cabinet views of Attorney General GE Vahanvati, who had noted that a case can be made out against 66-year-old Justice Ganguly following allegations of “unwelcome behaviour” towards the law intern.

The Attorney General’s suggestions came after his views were invited in a letter to the President by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee seeking Justice Ganguly’s removal from the chairmanship of West Bengal Human Rights Commission.

Justice Ganguly has strongly denied the charge and refused to quit despite massive outrage against him holding on to the post.

Last week, the law intern had hinted at filing a police complaint against Justice Ganguly after he wrote to Chief Justice of India, claiming that “powerful interests” against whom he had ruled as a judge were tarnishing his image.

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