Powerful people whose interests had suffered because of his verdicts could be behind the allegations of sexual assault against him, said former Supreme Court judge and chairperson of the West Bengal Human Rights Commission (WBHRC) Ashok Ganguly on Monday.
Ganguly wrote to his former colleague and chief justice of India P Sathasivam, refuting the intern’s allegations of molestation and also expressing displeasure at the proceedings of the Supreme Court panel.
In the eight-page letter, Ganguly, however, asserted his “moral strength lies undiminished” despite such complaints.
Ganguly’s response comes almost a month after a Supreme Court committee found him guilty of indulging in “unwelcome conduct of sexual nature”.
On November 27, the Supreme Court-appointed panel named Ganguly as the retired judge who had supposedly molested the intern in December 2012.
“There is a concerted move to tarnish my image as I had the unfortunate duty of rendering certain judgments against powerful interests. I may point out that despite odds, I judged the issues without fear or favour and if that triggers a collateral attack on me, then it poses a threat to the independence of the judiciary,” Ganguly wrote in the letter, of which HT has a copy.
“I responded to the request of the committee to appear before it in good faith and without questioning its authority, but I am sorry to point out that the conduct of the officials of the court and the proceedings before the committee were far from appropriate … I was treated almost like a person in captivity,” Ganguly remarked in the letter.
The former judge did not miss out on questioning the legitimacy of the panel and said the panel report was “not a judgment, order or decree”.
“The full bench of the court is of the opinion that the court has no jurisdiction over a retired judge, yet the report of the committee was published ... Such a report could not qualify to be an act of court which warranted publication,” the letter said.
Justice Ashok Ganguly demanded a probe into how the intern’s statement was leaked to the media.