But SC cannot act on law intern&’s complaint against retired judge, says CJI
STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE
New Delhi, 5 December
A three-judge committee of the Supreme Court has concluded that the statement of the law intern, who had complained against Justice A K Ganguly, prima facie discloses an “act of unwelcome behaviour” and “conduct of sexual nature” on the part of the retired judge.
The Chief Justice of India (CJI) Mr Justice P Sathasivam, however, stated on the Supreme Court website that the court could not take any action, as the judge had already retired on the date of the incident, and “no further follow up action is required” on the SC&’s part.
In a full court meeting, called by the CJI this eve-ning to deliberate upon the three-judge panel’s report, it was decided that no further follow-up action was required as Justice Ganguly had already demitted office on the date of the incident.
A statement on the SC website said: “As decided by the Full Court in its meeting, it is made clear that the representations made against former judges of this court are not entertainable by the administration of the Supreme Court.”
The committee, it said, was constituted by the CJI Sathasivam on 12 November as the media reports gave an impression that the misbehaviour was alleged against a sitting SC judge.
In its report to the CJI on 28 November, the committee has stated that the statement of the law intern, both written and oral, prima facie discloses an act of unwelcome behaviour (unwelcome verbal/non-verbal conduct of sexual nature) by Justice (retd) A K Ganguly with her in the room in hotel Le Meridien on 24 December, 2012, approximately between 8 pm and 10.30 pm,”.
The panel looking into the allegations of sexual harassment levied by an intern on retired Justice AK Ganguly has prima facie disclosed an “act of unwelcome behaviour” and “conduct of sexual nature” on the part of the retired judge. “We have carefully scrutinized the statement (written as well as oral) of (the intern), the affidavits of her three witnesses and the statement of Mr. Justice (Retd.) A K Ganguly. It appears that in the evening on 24 December 2012, she had visited hotel Le Meridien where Mr Justice (Retd.) A.K. Ganguly was staying to assist him in his work. This fact is not denied by Mr Justice (Retd.) Ganguly in his statement,” the report has stated.
“Further, the Committee is of the considered view that the statement of (the intern) both written and oral, prima facie discloses an act of unwelcome behaviour (unwelcome verbal/non-verbal conduct of sexual nature) by Mr Justice (Retd.) A.K. Ganguly with her in the room in hotel Le Meridien on 24 December 2012 approximately between 8.00 P.M. and 10.30 P.M,” said the operative portion from the report.
“No further follow up action by SC is required on account of Justice Ganguly’s superannuation on the date of the incident,” Chief Justice of India, P Sathasivam has remarked.
In its report, the SC panel, comprising Justices R M Lodha, H L Dattu and Ranjana Prakash Desai, has also remarked that the intern was not on the roll of the Supreme Court, but her statement indeed showed unwelcome behaviour by Justice Ganguly.
As pressure mounted on his resignation as Bengal human rights’ panel chief, Justice Ganguly was visibly annoyed when he was asked whether he would join office on Monday. Trinamul Congress MP Kalyan Banerjee said in view of the SC panel’s indictment Ganguly should "immediately step down."
Miss Mamata Banerjee, meanwhile, posted on her Facebook page that she has written to the President to remove Mr Justice Ganguly from his present post to preserve its sanctity.