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Law intern sexual harassment case: Govt to take call on Presidential reference next week, says Sushilkumar Shinde

Friday, 20 December 2013 - 5:24pm IST Updated: Friday, 20 December 2013 - 5:26pm IST | Place: New Delhi | Agency: PTI

Government will take a decision next week on sending a Presidential reference to the Supreme Court to probe allegations against Justice (retd) AK Ganguly and give its recommendations on the issue of removing him as Chairman of West Bengal Human Rights Commission.

"We have sent the papers for legal vetting and that will come early next week and after that we will take a decision," Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde told reporters here.

He was replying to a question on when the government will take a decision on sending the Presidential reference in the Ganguly case to Supreme Court.

The Home Ministry and Law Ministry are believed to be in agreement that prima facie a case can be made out against the former Supreme Court judge following a law intern's allegation of sexual harassment against him, sources said.

Justice Ganguly has strongly denied the charge and refused to quit his post.

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

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 law intern's allegation of sexual harassment against the former judge and his refusal to quit the post.

The Chief Minister has sought removal of Ganguly as the Chairman of the State Human Rights Commission after allegations of sexually harassing a law intern surfaced against him and sought the President's "urgent appropriate action" against the former judge.

The Chairman of State Human Rights Commission can only be removed on the orders of the President after receipt of the Supreme Court's inquiry report that would be vetted by the Union Cabinet.

According to Section 23 of the Human Rights Act, the Chairperson or any other member of the State Commission shall only be removed from his office by order of the President on the ground of "proved misbehaviour or incapacity" after the Supreme Court inquiry.

The apex court will carry out the inquiry on a reference being made to it by the President in accordance with laid down procedure.

If the court reports that the Chairperson or such other member, as the case may be, ought on any such ground to be removed, the report would be sent to Cabinet which would advise the President accordingly.

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