SC panel indicts Justice Ganguly in sexual assault case
The Supreme Court panel appointed to inquire into an itern's sexual harassment complaint against former judge A K Ganguly has indicted him prima facie of "unwelcome behaviour" relating to "conduct of sexual nature."
The 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 Supreme Court, however, made it clear that no further follow up action is required by it in view of the fact that Justice Ganguly had demitted office on the date of the incident--December 24 last year.
"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 to the Committee that in the evening on 24.12.2012, 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.) A.K. Ganguly in his statement.
"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 24.12.2012 approximately between 8.00 P.M. and 10.30 P.M," said the operative portion from the report.
A two-page statement issued by the Chief Justice of India Justice P Sathasivam disclosed the name of the intern but in keeping with the legal requirements and media policy followed in such cases, PTI is not mentioning her name in this news item.
Justice Sathasivam said considering the fact that the said intern was not an intern on the roll of the Supreme Court and that the concerned Judge had already demitted office on account of superannuation on the date of the incident, no further follow up action is required by this Court.
The CJI said on account of the fact that a report appeared in the media on the alleged aberration that it was "Supreme Court Judge", the Committee was constituted and it has submitted its Report.
"As decided by the Full Court in its meeting dated 5th December 2013, 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 CJI's statement said.
The Secretary General was directed to supply a copy of the Report of the committee to the intern and Justice Ganguly.
The committee comprising justices R M Lodha, H L Dattu and Ranjana Prakash Desai was constituted by Sathasivam after media reports on November 12 that "a recently retired judge" misbehaved with a law intern.
Without naming the judge, she had written in a blog that when the country was discussing the December 16 rape incident in the capital, she had undergone a traumatic experience at the hands of a judge who made advances to her.
The CJI said that taking cognizance of the fact that such allegation against a Supreme Court Judge will have a direct bearing on the institution's reputation and credibility, he had on the same day appointed the three-member committee to ascertain the truth of the allegations.
The Committee, having scrutinized the statements of the intern, the affidavits of her three witnesses and Mr. Justice A.K. Ganguly, former Judge of this Court, submitted its Report on 28th November, 2013.
The intern had appeared before the committee last month followed by the judge.
Justice Ganguly, who is now the chairman of the West Bengal Human Rights Commission, has denied the allegation against him and said he has been shocked and shattered.
Ever since the controversy erupted there have been demands for action against him and that he should quit from his post.