Cabinet nod to presidential reference against Ganguly

Sexual harassment charge: Pranab to seek probe from CJI.

Written by Express News Service | New Delhi | Published: January 3, 2014 1:06 am

Stepping up pressure on former Supreme Court judge A K Ganguly,the union Cabinet Thursday initiated the process of sending a presidential reference to the Supreme Court,warranting his removal from the post of West Bengal Human Rights Commission chairman. The Cabinet approved the Home Ministry proposal to send the reference for a probe into allegations of sexual harassment against Ganguly.

“The proposal of the Ministry of Home Affairs has been approved. I have nothing further to report on that now,” Finance Minister P Chidambaram said. The proposal will now be sent to President Pranab Mukherjee,who will then send the matter to the Chief Justice of India seeking a probe into the issue based on the three points raised in the reference. The Home Ministry had placed the views of Attorney General G E Vahanvati,who noted that a case can be made out against Ganguly following allegations of “unwelcome behaviour” towards a woman lawyer,sources said.

The Attorney General’s suggestions came after his views were invited on a letter to the President by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee seeking Ganguly’s removal as chairman of the commission.

Ganguly has denied the charges and refused to quit his post.

Sources said the Attorney General was asked to give his views on whether a case could be made out on three issues —allegations of sexual harassment against Ganguly,his visit to Pakistan without informing the West Bengal government,and taking an assignment of arbitration from the All India Football Federation despite holding a high post at the commission.

Protection of Human Rights Act is clear that a chairperson or member of NHRC or a state human rights commission can only be removed “by order of the President of India on the ground of proven misbehaviour or incapacity after the Supreme Court,on reference being made to it by the President,has,on enquiry… reported that the chairperson or the member ought on any such ground to be removed”.

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