HindustanTimes Sun,21 Dec 2014

Bengal governor accepts AK Ganguly's resignation

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  Kolkata, January 07, 2014
First Published: 16:07 IST(7/1/2014) | Last Updated: 20:49 IST(7/1/2014)

West Bengal governor MK Narayanan on Tuesday forwarded justice AK Ganguly's resignation from the post of chairman of the West Bengal Human Rights Commission (WBHRC) to the chief minister's office, ending weeks of speculation on whether he would step down voluntarily in the wake of sexual harassment charges.

Ganguly had earlier met Narayanan for over 30 minutes on Monday evening.

He called up his office on Tuesday and told the staff he would not be attending office, WBHRC sources said.

Though the former Supreme Court judge, accused of sexually harassing a law intern, would say nothing, sources confirmed the governor had accepted Ganguly's resignation.

The development came close on the heels of the Union Cabinet on Thursday last 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 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 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.

Speculations about an impending resignation were doing the rounds since Sunday. Especially after Ganguly reportedly told eminent jurist Soli Sorabjee he would step down from the rights panel once the Cabinet recommended his dismissal to the President.

Ganguly's decision to quit was met with mixed reactions. "He should have resigned long ago on moral grounds," said National Women's Commission chairperson Mamta Sharma. But former Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee, who was staunchly backing Ganguly, was upset.

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