The Trinamool Congress on Wednesday sought the resignation of former Supreme Court judge Justice AK Ganguly as chairman of West Bengal Human Rights Commission as he has been accused of misbehaving and making sexual advances to a law intern last year when she was working with him.
“The TMC has noted with anxiousness and concern the charges of sexual harassment against Justice Ganguly,” Derek O’Brien, TMC parliamentary party chief whip in the Rajya Sabha, said.
“It is for people in senior position in public life to act as role models and not just in upholding the standard of conducts with female colleagues but also in responding expeditiously and with sensitivity when they themselves face charges of this nature. As such, it would be wholly incumbent upon Justice Ganguly to step down from his position as chairman of WBHRC and restore the sanctity of the office he currently holds,” he said.
Ganguly, however, said that he has not decided about quitting so far. “I have not decided. I am undecided and maintaining that the time has not come to think about it,” he said.
As per the Supreme Court judgment in K Veeraswami case, superannuation is no longer protected for retired judges. “No criminal case shall be registered under s.154, Cr. P.C. against a Judge of the High Court, Chief Justice of the High Court or a Judge of the Supreme Court unless the Chief Justice of India is consulted in the matter,” the judgment said.
A three-judge panel, set up by the CJI, had recently concluded its inquiry and submitted a report to him on the allegations. The CJI has yet to take cognizance of the report. According to the Supreme Court judgment, Justice Ganguly will lose his immunity if the CJI does that.
“Our judges are supposed to be worthy of being worshipped. The interns who work under Supreme Court judges consider them as haloed beings. Now for a person to function in such a situation (when he is an accused) does not do well for himself or to the institution. If he wants he can go on leave. The institutional integrity should be preserved and the WBHRC head must step aside,” said a former Delhi High Court judge who does not want to be named.
However, senior advocate KTS Tulsi said, “Stepping down would almost result in admission of guilt. Eleven months only to complain is quite a delay. The courts even doubt when there is a delay of 11 hours. Ideally, a woman should complain within 24 hours if her sanctity has been violated with.”