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HindustanTimes Sat,20 Sep 2014

Ganguly remains defiant after intern’s affidavit made public

Agencies  Kolkata, December 16, 2013
First Published: 13:23 IST(16/12/2013) | Last Updated: 19:23 IST(16/12/2013)

Former Supreme Court judge AK Ganguly, who is accused of sexually harassing a law intern, on Monday refused to resign as chairman of the West Bengal Human Rights Commission after additional solicitor general Indira Jaising made excerpts from an affidavit by the woman public.

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Ganguly also questioned Jaising's move to make the law intern's "confidential" statement before the court public.

“That is supposed to be confidential as it was given before a Supreme Court committee. How can it come out in the open?” Ganguly questioned.

When asked whether he would complain about this, the retired judge said, "What can I do? Who is listening to me?"

He refused to comment on the woman's affidavit, as published in a national daily, saying, "I will not say anything on this".

The girl, who graduated from Kolkata's National University of Juridical Sciences, had in a sworn affidavit before a three-judge panel of the apex court given a detailed account of what happened on 24 December, 2012 when she was asked by the Ganguly to assist him with a report.

The committee had indicted the former judge for "unwelcome behaviour" and "conduct of sexual nature" towards the girl who was then working as a law intern with him.

READ: Addl solicitor general makes intern's affidavit public

Ganguly has so far denied all the allegations against him.

Jaising has written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh seeking his removal from the WBHRC post.


"Ganguly has to go"

As pressure mounted on Ganguly to resign, law minister Kapil Sibal said he was waiting to see when the apex court "rises to the occasion" to deal with the issue.

"Waiting to see when and how the Supreme Court rises to the occasion to deal with Justice Ganguly," Sibal tweeted.

His remarks on Twitter came days after he questioned the decision of the Supreme Court of not taking further action against Ganguly just because he has retired, saying the issue cannot be "brushed under the carpet".

The allegation against Ganguly was raised in Parliament on Friday with the BJP and the Trinamool Congress demanding his removal as chairman of West Bengal rights panel, saying that he should have resigned ethical grounds by now.

West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee, who had chosen Ganguly as the chairman of WBHRC after coming to power in 2011, has written twice to President Pranab Mukherjee seeking strong action against the former judge.

Samajwadi Party leader Naresh Agarwal said law must be equal for all.

"Why cannot a case be filed against the judge? If cases can be filed against politicians and journalists, why not justice Ganguly?" he asked.

CPI leader D Raja stressed that Ganguly should quit from his constitutional position.

"It is better to uphold the judicial prudence and the value in public life. Mr Ganguly has to go," he said.

The intern had written a blog, on November 6 on the website Legally India, accusing the former SC judge of sexually harassing her at a hotel in New Delhi on December 24, 2012 when the Capital was in the grip of protest following the fatal gang-rape of a paramedical student.

The CJI had set up the committee on November 12 to look into her allegations after the issue was widely reported in mainstream media.

READ: Haste, hype and populism cannot serve gender justice



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