Ministry starts steps to punish Ganguly

Ministry starts steps to punish Ganguly

As the campaign for Justice A K Ganguly's removal following sexual harassment allegations gathered momentum, the Union Home Ministry on Tuesday started consultations with the Law Ministry to see whether a case could be made to initiate the process of sacking him.

The process started after President Pranab Mukherjee referred a letter by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee demanding his ouster from the state Human Rights Commission.

Officials said the government could approach the Supreme Court to constitute a panel to go into allegations against Ganguly if the legal advice suggests that prima facie a case can be made out and give its recommendations.

As the Chairperson of an SHRC, Ganguly can be removed only by the order of President on the ground of  “proved misbehaviour or incapacity” after the Supreme Court inquiry.

The government is also looking into the whether a criminal case can be filed against Ganguly by the Delhi Police. Ganguly, who retired from the apex court more than a year ago, was accused by the intern of sexually harassing her, a charge strongly denied by him, in a hotel room in Delhi last year.

After the President referred the matter, the Home Ministry is moving with caution so that there is no loophole in the process.

Law Minister Kapil Sibal on Monday said he was waiting to see when and how the Supreme Court rises to the occasion to deal with Justice Ganguly.

“I am a little disappointed because the institution, which has found that sexual overtures were made, was to have taken the matter forward,” he had said. Banerjee had last week shot off a second letter to the President seeking "urgent appropriate action" against Ganguly.

As per the procedure laid out in the Human Rights Act, the Supreme Court will carry out the inquiry on a reference being made to it by the President.

If the court reports that the chairperson or a member ought on any such ground to be removed, the report would be sent to Cabinet, which would advise the President accordingly.

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