Law Ministry seeks AG's view on Ganguly row

Law Ministry seeks AG's view on Ganguly row

Law Ministry seeks AG's view on Ganguly row

A move is afoot to start the formal process for removal of Justice A K Ganguly as West Bengal Human Rights’ Commission head with the Law Ministry going a step ahead by seeking opinion of Attorney General for it.

The Law Ministry on Thursday approached Attorney General G E Vahanvati seeking his opinion on the legal procedure to remove Justice Ganguly in view the Supreme Court panel indicting him with “an act of unwelcome behaviour (unwelcome verbal/non-verbal conduct of sexual nature)”.

A law intern had leveled sexual harassment charges against him. The top law officer’s opinion would help the government in taking a final view for sending a presidential reference to the apex court for conducting an inquiry as stipulated under the law for removal of rights body head.

The decision by the law ministry came in the wake of the home minister earlier expressing his view for going ahead with it after taking legal opinion.

Justice Ganguly, on his part, remained intransigent, refusing to put in his papers. In a first step, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee sought Ganguly’s removal by sending a letter to President Pranab Mukherjee, who, in turn, referred to the Home Ministry.

The chairman of State Human Rights Commission can only be removed on the orders of the President following the receipt of the Supreme Court’s inquiry report that would be vetted by the Union Cabinet.

According to Section 23 of the Human Rights Act, the chairperson or any other member of the state commission shall only be removed from his office by order of the President on the ground of "proved misbehaviour or incapacity" after the Supreme Court inquiry.

Meanwhile, former Chief Justice of India and NHRC chairman Justice K G Balakrishnan refused to be drawn into the controversy involving Justice Ganguly saying that he was appointed to the post by the West Bengal government which was only empowered to make a Presidential reference for his removal.