Justice (retd) A K Ganguly has written to Chief Justice of India P Sathasivam,questioning the locus standi of the Supreme court panel that indicted him of unwelcome sexual behaviour towards a woman interning with him,and accusing powerful interests of targeting him because of judgments he passed against them.
The 12-page letter,including a copy of the complainants affidavit to the Supreme Court panel,was sent from the West Bengal Human Rights Commission of which Justice Ganguly is chairman on Monday. A copy of the letter has been sent to President Pranab Mukherjee.
I see in the whole game a palpable design to malign me at the instance of interested quarters, Justice Ganguly wrote. He expressed deep distress about the manner in which the Supreme Court had handled the matter.
The subsequent events clearly seem to suggest that there is concerted move to tarnish my image as I had the unfortunate duty of rendering certain judgments against powerful interests. This,Justice Ganguly said,posed a threat to the independence of the judiciary.
Justice Ganguly led the Supreme Court bench that delivered the February 2012 judgment that cancelled 122 2G licences given by former telecom minister A Raja.
A panel comprising Justices R M Lodha,H L Dattu and Ranjana P Desai this month concluded that statements of the woman lawyer had prima facie disclosed an act of unwelcome sexual behaviour (by Justice Ganguly) with her in the room in hotel Le Meridien (in Delhi) on 24.12.2012 approximately between 8.00 pm and 10.30 pm.
In his letter to the CJI,Justice Ganguly reiterated that he had never harassed nor made any unwelcome advances to any female intern.
He said: In my statement I truthfully recounted that as I needed help to complete the work and the intern was requested and acceded to the request and in fact typed on that evening about more than 20 pages of my dictation on her laptop. I also clarify that there was a cordial meeting followed by dinner. Thereafter I saw the intern off in a car arranged on my request and made sure that she reached her destination safely.
According to the statement of the complainant,revealed in an article in The Indian Express by Additional Solicitor General Indira Jaising,Ganguly had asked the complainant to go into his bedroom and relax while drinking some wine. He is subsequently alleged to have told her,You are very beautiful… You know that I am attracted to you,dont you?… I really like you,I love you. According to the woman,when she tried to move away,he kissed my arm and repeated that he loved me.
On Monday,Justice Ganguly told The Indian Express that he would be expecting a reply from the CJI before deciding on taking further legal steps in the matter. By releasing the letter,he was expecting to inform the public about the allegedly unfair treatment meted out to him,Justice Ganguly said. He said he felt that he had strong legal grounds vindicating his position.
The former judge raised questions on the jurisdiction of the apex court to form a committee to examine his conduct after he had retired,and on the procedure followed by the panel during its investigation.
I am unclear whether the full court after stating that it has no jurisdiction of even administrative nature over representation against former judges,yet authorised your Lordships to issue a communiqué and publish conclusions of a committee report which purports to cast serious aspersion on me, he said.
The so called statements of the intern were recorded behind my back and my statement was also recorded behind her back. I have never heard of such procedure.
Justice Ganguly has stressed that the report of the committee does not have any legal status.
I never heard that an administrative committee which has no authority over a retired judge will assume jurisdiction to find truth of allegations made in newspapers. Supreme Court has repeatedly held in its judicial side that serious allegations cannot be even prima facie established except on proper appreciation of evidence by judicial authorities. There is no question of appreciating materials even prima facie without an affidavit from the intern. Even affidavits,Supreme Court held on the judicial side cannot be evidence in cases of factual allegations of personal nature. The intern only made a statement and on that there cannot be any administrative inquiry to find out truth of allegations. But I regret that this was done to me after giving a highly daunting welcome and this is beyond my imagination. The report of the committee,I may humbly point out,has no legal status, he wrote.
On Jaising making the complainants affidavit public,Ganguly asked the CJI: I would like to know whether it has your Lordships approval or approval of any member of the committee before the same was done by the learned ASG. I assume that such permission was not given…
The affidavit was allegedly sworn before a notary public in Bangalore on 29.11.13. Ms Jaising held a press conference in Kolkata possibly on 15.12.13 and said that the affidavit was filed by the intern before the SC which gave its report on 27.11.13. How is it possible?
Justice Ganguly has ended his letter by saying,I am sure that Providence and History will judge us best.