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Ganguly down,Mamata weighs options

Govt might write to the President to remove Ganguly as chairperson of West Bengal Human Rights Commission.

Written by Express News Service | Kolkata |
November 30, 2013 1:27:28 am

The West Bengal government is exploring options to deal with the situation arising out of Justice Asok Ganguly being named as the former Supreme Court judge who allegedly sexually harassed a law intern.

A top state government official said that the government might write to the President seeking Justice Ganguly’s removal as chairperson of the West Bengal Human Rights Commission.

Law Minister Chandrima Bhattacharya said on Friday: “The government is yet to take a decision. But this kind of allegation against a retired justice who holds such a high post is unfortunate. The law will take its course.”

Justice Ganguly has been in a running battle with the Trinamool Congress government,and has embarrassed Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee in several of his orders. He initiated suo motu investigations in the cartoon controversy involving Professor Ambikesh Mohapatra of Jadavpur University,and into the Junglemahal incident in which Mamata had branded a farmer a “Maoist” for asking her uncomfortable questions about the rising prices of fertilisers.

In the first case,Justice Ganguly went on to recommend action against policemen who arrested Mohapatra and ordered a compensation of Rs 50,000 for the professor. The government ignored the recommendations.

The news evoked a mixed response in Kolkata. Former WBHRC member Justice N C Sil expressed shock. “I have worked with him a long time,both in the commission and in Calcutta High Court. I have never felt that he could be involved in something like this,” Justice Sil said.

Asked about the process of removal of the chairperson of the commission,Justice Sil said,“Chairman can only be removed by the President of India in consultation with the Chief Justice of the SC if the chairman is proved guilty of any such crime.”

Justice Ganguly was appointed chairman of WBHRC in 2011 at the behest of Mamata Banerjee. WBHRC had been without a chief for 10 years before that.

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