Jaitley demands SC-monitored probe against Justice Ganguly

Jaitley demands SC-monitored probe against Justice Ganguly

The Supreme Court cannot follow an "escapist route" on the sexual harassment complaint against Justice A K Ganguly, BJP leader Arun Jaitley today said, demanding that the apex court monitor a probe in the case as it had done in other matters like 2G scam.

The Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha argued on his Facebook page that the Supreme Court's reasoning that it cannot deal with the charges against Justice Ganguly due to its "administrative" limitations as he is a retired judge of the apex court "fails the test of conscience".

"If it (SC) has found a former Judge of the Supreme Court prima facie committed an offence, it cannot follow an escapist route and hold that on the administrative side it has no jurisdiction.

"The Supreme Court is fully empowered on the Judicial side to ensure that the law takes its own course. It cannot escape from its judicial responsibility," Jaitley said.

"The administrative decision of the Supreme Court is being closely watched by all citizens. Is the Court dealing with a former Judge, who currently holds the office as the Chairman, Human Rights Commission, West Bengal in the same way as it would have dealt with any other person who is or has been the holder of an exalted office?" he said.

The BJP leader said Justice Ganguly must face the investigations as an ordinary citizen stepping down from the office he holds.

His Lok Sabha counterpart Sushma Swaraj has already demanded that Justice Ganguly should quit this post as "not just Caesar but Caesar's wife should also be above suspicion".

Jaitley pointed out that Supreme Court has devised the concept of "continuing mandamus" where it has nudged the investigation into action in matters where persons in high position have either abused their office, indulged in conduct unbecoming of the office and the law enforcement agencies are likely to be overawed by the personality of the accused.

"The court oversees the fact that the holder of the public office is to be dealt with in a manner as mandated by law. This is precisely what the bench of Justice G S Singhvi and Justice A K Ganguly did in the 2G Spectrum case," he said.

The eminent lawyer maintained that Supreme Court should apply the same principle even more sternly to a sitting or a former judge.

The BJP leader suggested that the Supreme Court must place the case before a bench of the court on the judicial side which must monitor the investigations in order to ensure justice and fairness.

"Nobody should harass a lady. Certainly not holders of high judicial offices. If they act in a conduct unbecoming of the office that they hold, the dignity of the institution and the popular faith in judgments of judicial institutions gets eroded.... It is now incumbent on the Supreme Court of India to ensure that the law must take its own course," Jaitley said.

He emphasised that the Supreme Court should apply the yarstick of "Be you ever so high, the law is above you", which it has repeatedly told everybody, to itself.

The full court of the Supreme Court of India met on the administrative side on December 5, 2013 but decided it cannot act against a retired judge as "on the administrative side" it does not have a jurisdiction to deal with such an issue.

The court further decided that if representations against former judges are received, the same shall not be entertained by the administration of the court.

The Supreme Court also declared that it is up to the complainant and other authorities, to be at liberty to proceed with the matter in accordance with the law.

Jaitley insisted that the Supreme Court functions predominantly on the "judicial side" and should take action in this matter.

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