Amid speculation that retired Supreme Court judge A K Ganguly had quit as West Bengal Human Rights Commission chairman after meeting state Governor M K Narayanan Monday, the Centre moved a step closer to removing him from the post through a reference to the Supreme Court.
The home ministry, sources told The Indian Express, sent a formal communication to Attorney General G E Vahanvati, asking him to finalise the reference that President Pranab Mukherjee could make to the Supreme Court.
They said unless there is a formal communication from the governor or Ganguly himself about the resignation, the Centre will “process” the case as per rules. If he resigns, the sources said, the MHA will recall the reference as it would become infructuous.
Some sources said the government is also examining if Ganguly could be suspended for the duration of the Supreme Court inquiry.
Earlier on Monday evening, Ganguly met Narayanan at the Raj Bhavan but refused to either confirm or deny if he had resigned. However, a PTI report from Kolkata, quoting unnamed sources, said he had submitted his resignation to the governor.
Sources told The Indian Express that the possibility of his quitting was very strong, especially in light of his meetings with legal experts and jurists during a two-day visit to New Delhi last week.
Ganguly is learnt to have met senior advocates Soli Sorabjee, K K Venugopal and some former judges of the Supreme Court during the visit. It is learnt that he asserted at all his discussions that he had done nothing wrong and the allegations against him were false and motivated.
But most of those he met advised Ganguly to resign, pointing out to him the possibility of facing at the inquiry the same judges with whom he decided cases until his retirement.
Former Attorney General Sorabjee had said Sunday that Ganguly had told him over telephone that he was contemplating resigning as WBHRC chairman.
Ganguly has denied the allegations and blamed “powerful interests” of trying to tarnish his image because of certain judgments delivered by him.