Born on February 3, 1947, Justice Asok Kumar Ganguly has an M.A. in English which he completed in 1968 and LLB in 1970 from Calcutta University. During the course of LLB, he started his career as a school teacher at his former school. He then started his practice of law from the Calcutta High Court in 1972.
After practising law for more than 20 years, Ganguly was appointed as a Permanent Judge at the Calcutta High Court on January 10, 1994. He was then transferred to the Patna High Court and joined there on April 4, 1994.
After being in the Patna High Court for more than six years, he was transferred to the Calcutta High Court and joined the same on August 1, 2000 and has since then continued in the Calcutta High Court. Ultimately he became the senior most Judge in Calcutta High Court from March, 2005.
He has twice functioned as the Acting Chief Justice of Calcutta High Court. He was later transferred to the Orissa High Court where he joined the Orissa High Court as the senior mostJudge on April 21, 2006.
Later on, he became the Acting Chief Justice of Orissa High Court on January 28, 2007 and took oath as the Chief Justice of Orissa High Court on March 2, 2007.
He was also appointed as the Chief Justice of Madras High Court on May 19, 2008.
He later was appointed to the Supreme Court of India as one of its judges on December 17, 2008.
He has formally retired on February 3, 2012.
Over the years, Former Justice AK Ganguly has given numerous notable judgements. Below is a list of some of the judgements passed by AK Ganguly:
1) AK Ganguly, on February 2, 2012, cancelled 122 2G licencses issued in the year 2008 by Andimuthu Raja, the then Union Telecom Minister. Dubbed as the 2G spectrum scam, it was a scam involving numerous politicians and government officials in India who were illegally undercharging mobile telephony companies for frequency allocation licenses, which they would then use to create 2G spectrum subscriptions for cell phones. The shortfall between the money collected and the money that the law mandated to be collected is estimated to be Rs 1766.45 billion, as valued by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India.
A Raja, the main accused in the 2G spectrum scam- Arijit Sen/ DNA Research N Archives
2) Justice AK Ganguly observed that during the emergency period in India, the Supreme Court of India had violated the basic fundamental rights of the Indian citizens. A bench of Justices Aftab Alam and Ganguly took the view that the majority decision of a five-member Constitution bench upholding the suspension of fundamental rights during 'Emergency' was incorrect.
3) AK Ganguly was also against the President's power of pardon. According to the consitution of India, President of India has the power to grant a pardon or reduce the sentence of a convicted person, particularly in cases involving punishment of death. However, in a judgement delivered by Justice Ganguly, he said that the President or the Governor exercising the power of pardon in granting remission of a sentence to a convict could not encroach into the judicial domain and give a finding on the guilt of the convict. If such a power was exercised arbitrarily, mala fide or in absolute disregard of the finer canons of the constitutionalism, the by-product order could not get the approval of law and in such cases, the judicial hand must be stretched to it.
4) He also imposed a fine of Rs one million on the Maharashtra state government based on a complaint that the then chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh had influenced the police against registering an FIR against MLA Dilip Kumar Sananda. The court ordered the state government to utilise the fine money for the development of farmers in the state of Maharashtra.
The court said that the former chief minister, Vilasrao Deshmukh, should not have interfered with the criminal justice system- Ashwini Sawant/ DNA Research N Archives
5) In a judgement passed on July 6, 2011, the bench of Justice Ganguly along with Justice GS Singhvi ordered that the entire 156 hectares of land be given back to the robbed farmers. The government, who had acquired the land for development, handed it over to the builders for constructing commercial and residential complexes. The bench also imposed a fine of Rs1 million on Greater Noida Industrial Development Authority (GNIDA) for its illegal act.