SC rejects PIL seeking stay on govt action against Justice AK Ganguly
Spelling more trouble for retired apex court judge Asok Kumar Ganguly, the Supreme Court on Monday quashed a petition seeking a stay on Centre’s move to remove him as the chief of West Bengal Human Rights Commission (WBHRC) in connection with sexual harassment allegations made against him by a law intern.
The development comes as a major blow for Ganguly, who has been mulling to quit as the WBHRC in the wake of rising demands for his ouster for sexually harassing a young law intern last year.
Reports on Monday said that the retired Supreme Court judge AK has spoken to former Attorney General Soli Sorabjee confirming his plan to quit as the WBRC chief.
Ganguly’s decision to step down comes days after the Union Cabinet cleared the note for presidential reference against him. If Ganguly quits as WBHRC chief on his own, the Presidential reference will become invalid. The Union Cabinet gave its nod to the presidential reference after Justice Ganguly refused to quit the post.
The PIL also sought the quashing of the report in which a three-member panel of apex court judges indicted Ganguly for unwelcome behaviour against the law intern, who has accused the judge of sexually harassing him in a Delhi hotel last year.
The PIL seeking to quash the complaint against the retired judge was filed in the apex court on Friday. The petitioner said Ganguly was being maligned and was a victim of conspiracy as he had in an arbitration suspended Mohun Bagan for walking out of a football league match against the East Bengal club.
The All India Football Federation subsequently revoked Mohun Bagan’s suspension but slapped a Rs 2 crore fine on it.
The three-judge committee looking into the allegations of sexual harassment levied by an intern on retired Justice Ganguly prima facie disclosed an “act of unwelcome behaviour” and “conduct of sexual nature” on the part of the retired judge.
The committee had observed that “statement of (victim) both written and oral, prima facie discloses an act of unwelcome behaviour (unwelcome verbal/non-verbal conduct of sexual nature) by Ganguly judge with the intern in a hotel last year.