Pressure up on Ganguly to go: Didi writes to Pranab; Sibal,Jaitley want action

Arun Jaitley also urged the Supreme Court not to adopt an escapist route.

Written by Express News Service | Kolkata/new Delhi | Published: December 7, 2013 3:49 am

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee Friday stepped up pressure on retired Supreme Court judge A K Ganguly to quit as chairman of the state human rights commission after being accused of sexually harassing an intern even as Law Minister Kapil Sibal and BJP leader Arun Jaitley urged the apex court to act against the judge it had indicted.

But the former judge said he had not decided on quitting.

In a post on her Facebook page,Banerjee said she had written two letters to President Pranab Mukherjee requesting him to take “urgent necessary action” to remove Ganguly from his office at the “earliest”.

In a similar post on the social networking site Thursday evening,Banerjee had said she had written to the President urging him to take action against Ganguly.

“Yesterday,I had written to our Hon’ble President requesting him to take appropriate action urgently against the former Judge Asok Kumar Ganguly for his alleged misconduct,” she wrote.

“Today,it is reported in the media that the three-judge panel of the Hon’ble Supreme Court has indicted him,prima facie,guilty of the charges levelled against him. On this basis,I have sent another letter today to the Hon’ble President of India for taking urgent necessary action,so that Shri Ganguly is removed from his office at the earliest.”

A woman lawyer who worked as an intern with Ganguly last year has accused him of sexually harassing her at a five-star hotel in Delhi.

The retired judge has strongly denied the allegation. “I have read everything in the newspaper today. I have not yet decided on submitting my resignation,” Ganguly told The Indian Express when reached for comment.

Although there have been demands for the police to act against Ganguly after a panel of SC judges found him prima facie guilty,a Kolkata police officer pleaded helplessness saying the alleged incident had not occurred in the city and the complainant was not a resident of Kolkata either.

In the capital,Law Minister Sibal and leader of the opposition in the Rajya Sabha,Arun Jaitley,expressed their disappointment over the apex court’s reluctance to take follow-up action against Ganguly after holding him prima facie guilty in the case.

Sibal said the issue cannot be “brushed under the carpet” only because Ganguly had retired as a Supreme Court judge.

“I am a little disappointed because the institution,which has found that sexual overtures were made,was to have taken the matter forward,” he told reporters.

“Well,if he was no longer a judge,then they should not have set up the inquiry. Having come to a conclusion,they cannot give that reason to say they won’t take it forward,” said Sibal.

He hoped the Supreme Court would take the matter on the judicial side and treat it like they treat the matter of any ordinary citizen.

“After all,those who are infallible are also ordinary mortals. And if they are found to have violated,especially the court which always protects the dignity of individuals especially of women,should not be seen to be wanting as they are in this case,” he said.

Jaitley also urged the Supreme Court not to adopt an “escapist” route and follow the standards it applies to others in high office.

“It 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. Justice Ganguly must face the investigations as an ordinary citizen stepping down from the office he holds,” Jaitley added.

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