Justice Ganguly slams SC panel

Justice Ganguly slams SC panel

Within 48 hours of his resignation, Justice A K Ganguly, who had hitherto kept quiet, slammed the Supreme Court panel and the West Bengal government.

Continuing to refute allegations of sexual harassment, he maintained that he did not hold malice towards the law intern, who charged him.

In an explosive interview to a national news channel, 24 hours after his resignation as chairman of the West Bengal Human Rights Commission (WBHRC) was accepted, Justice Ganguly questioned the jurisdiction of the three-member panel appointed by the Supreme Court in probing his case. He said he resigned from office in “disgust”.

“I have been very badly and unfairly treated. I was not given a fair chance by the Supreme Court panel,” he said. He claimed that the panel did not give him a copy of the law intern’s statement and when he wrote a letter to Chief Justice of India P Sathasivam in this regard, there was no reply.

Justice Ganguly, however, said he would prefer imprisonment over filing a defamation suit against the intern. “I will never do anything against someone who was my student.

I would rather go to jail,” he said, when asked whether he planned defamation charges. “She was quite an efficient intern. I wish her success in whatever she chooses in her life,” he said.

The retired judge, who quit under tremendous pressure from political parties and civil society bodies, stated that the Supreme Court’s jurisdiction did not apply to retired judges. “The intern never complained to the SC. Then why was a panel formed? I appeared before court in good faith. The SC panel acted without jurisdiction and basis. I am questioning the role of my fellow judges in the Supreme Court,” he said.

Talking about the panel’s observation that there was “unwelcome behaviour” on his part, Justice Ganguly said: “I didn’t force her to stay with me or to drink wine. Can I force if one is not willing? If she did not like, she could have left before dinner.” The panel held him guilty of making sexual advances at the intern when she went to meet him at his luxury hotel room in Delhi on December 24, 2012.

Not willing to speculate whether he was victimised by a political conspiracy, Justice Ganguly said: “The West Bengal government never liked my continuance as chairman of the commission. No dissent is allowed in Bengal. This is well known to everyone. The government was very uncomfortable with me as the WBHRC chief.”

Stating that he stepped down for his family’s happiness, he said, “I feel shattered by the allegations that have been made. They are very unreasonable.” He stressed that his resignation was not an admission of guilt.

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