With attorney general Goolam E Vahanvati sending the legal opinion to the Union home ministry on Friday, decks have been cleared for action against West Bengal State Human Rights Commission chairman justice AK Ganguly.
Union home ministry officials acknowledged receiving the AG’s legal opinion from the law ministry report but were tight lipped about the content of the report.
However, sources said the AG in his opinion has found a prima facie case against justice Ganguly and has given nod for moving presidential reference that will pave the way for his removal from WBSHRC.
The Union home ministry is likely to start the proceedings against justice Ganguly according to section 23 of the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993 in early first week by referring the matter to the Union cabinet by moving a note on presidential reference for removal of Justice Ganguly, which is already under preparation, sources said.
The Union cabinet that is expected to meet on Tuesday will take a final call on the presidential reference and if it finds merit in it will refer it to the president from it will be sent to the Supreme Court for action.
While there is no clarity on how the supreme court will proceed on the issue as it is the first of its kind case involving a former Supreme Judge, informed officials said the court should list the case as normal hearing.
“It is up to the court how to proceed in the matter but as the case involves a former Supreme Court judge on a sensitive issue, the court may go in for conducting an in-camera hearing. The court may appoint a three judge bench to avoid a divided judgment,” said the official.
In the course of hearing, justice Ganguly shall have the right to plead either himself or through a lawyer. During the course of the case, the court can also order filing FIR against Justice Ganguly.
“Importantly, once the Supreme Court gives its decision it shall be binding on the Government of India and it shall have to abide by it – be it holding Justice Ganguly guilty or acquitting him of all charges,” said the official.