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HindustanTimes Fri,01 Aug 2014

Intern's affidavit out, Ganguly under pressure to quit

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, December 16, 2013
First Published: 19:24 IST(16/12/2013) | Last Updated: 09:29 IST(17/12/2013)

Pressure mounted on former Supreme Court judge AK Ganguly, accused of sexually harassing a law intern, to step down as the chairman of the West Bengal Human Rights Commission (WBHRC), after the intern's statement was released in full by additional solicitor general Indira Jaising in a national daily on Monday.

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In an exclusive article published in the daily, Jaising said, "I would like to ask justice Ganguly if this is indeed how he would like his child to be treated."

The intern's affidavit, released by Jaising, reveals Ganguly had allegedly called her to a hotel room, kissed her arm and made an obscene offer.

Reacting to Jaising's move, the judge, who has resolutely refused to resign, said, "That is supposed to be confidential as it was given before a SC committee. How can it come out in the open?"

Asked whether he would complain about this, he said, "What can I do? Who is listening to me?"

READ: Ganguly remains defiant after intern’s affidavit made public

Jaising, who has written to the PM to ensure Ganguly's removal, said after realising a powerful section of people was backing the retired judge, she felt compelled to make the intern's statement public.

"The issue doesn't concern just her (the intern); rather it concerns the integrity and the functioning of WBHRC," she said.

Making Jaising's revelation a rallying point, law minister Kapil Sibal said "it is time for justice Ganguly to voluntarily submit the resignation".

HT EDIT: AK Ganguly must safeguard the dignity of his office and resign

Earlier in the day, he tweeted: "Waiting to see when and how the Supreme Court rises to the occasion to deal with justice Ganguly."

A few days ago, Sibal criticised the apex court for not prescribing any action against Ganguly, even after indicting him for "behavior of sexual nature", just because he was a retired judge.

The law minister did not rule out a government action, saying a procedure under the Protection of Human Rights Act stipulated the removal of the chairman for misbehaviour and incapacity to continue in that position.

"If justice Ganguly does not resign, the government might take the position and decide," he said.

Joining the chorus demanding Ganguly's ouster, senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley told a news channel, "There is reason to believe on the basis of the report of the three judges that an offence could have been committed. Since this involves a former judge of the Supreme Court, who is presently the Chairperson of the West Bengal Human Rights Commission, a person in a high position, Justice Ganguly, like Caesar's wife, must be above suspicion," he said.

Meanwhile, protestors gathered on Monday outside the office of the Commission in Kolkata to press for Ganguly's resignation.

READ: Haste, hype and populism cannot serve gender justice



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