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Attorney General GE Vahanvati clears proposal for Presidential reference for AK Ganguly's removal from West Bengal rights panel

Friday, 20 December 2013 - 9:55pm IST | Place: New Delhi | Agency: PTI

Attorney General GE Vahanvati is on Friday learnt to have endorsed a government proposal for a presidential reference for removal of Justice (Retd) AK Ganguly as head of West Bengal Human Rights Commission in the wake of his indictment by a Supreme Court panel for "unwelcome behaviour" towards a woman law intern.

The Law Ministry and the Home Ministry are already in agreement that prima facie a case can be made out against the former Supreme Court judge, sources said here.

The matter was referred to Attorney General Vahanvati for his view on the government's stand as part of the laid down procedure.

In his opinion, to be forwarded to the Home Ministry soon, the AG is learnt to have said that there was sufficient evidence against the former SC judge and it was a fit case for a Presidential reference.

The stand of the Law Ministry and the AG are based, among other things, on the report of the three-judge SC committee which went into the allegations of the law intern.

The Home Ministry had recently referred the matter to the Law Ministry. The Home Ministry will now take a final view on the issue.

The move came after President Pranab Mukherjee referred to the Home Ministry a letter by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee seeking Ganguly's removal from the high post following a woman law intern's allegation of sexual harassment against the former judge. Justice Ganguly has strongly denied the charge and refused to quit his post.

The Presidential reference to be made to the apex court will have to be cleared by the Union Cabinet before it is sent to the President.

The Protection of Human Rights Act is clear that a Chairperson or member of the NHRC or a state human rights commission can only be removed "by order of the President of India on the grounds 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, as the case may be, ought on any such ground to be removed."




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