Zee Media Bureau
New Delhi: In a significant development in the law intern sexual harassment case, the Attorney General of India on Friday found retired Supreme Court judge Justice Asok Kumar Ganguly prima facie guilty in the case, television reports claimed.
Reports said Attorney General GE Vahanvati has sent his opinion on Justice Ganguly to Union Law Minister Kapil Sibal.
The Home Ministry had yesterday referred a Presidential reference on the allegations against Justice Ganguly to the Attorney General. The government had indicated that Ganguly may be sacked as chairman of the West Bengal Human Rights Commission.
Earlier, President Pranab Mukherjee had forwarded to the Home Ministry West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s letter in which she demanded Ganguly`s removal as WBHRC chief.
The demands for Ganguly’s removal started after a law intern accused the former SC judge of sexually harassing her in a hotel room in Delhi last year. Ganguly, who retired from the Supreme Court over a year ago, strongly denied the allegations.
"Papers have come to us. I can say as of now that we have sent to legal department and then after obtaining their opinion, we will go ahead," Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde had said on being asked about action against Justice Ganguly.
As per rules, only the President can order the removal of the chairman of state Human Rights Commission after he receives the Supreme Court`s inquiry report, which has to be vetted by the Union Cabinet.
As per 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 apex court inquiry.
The SC conducts the inquiry after a reference to it is made by the President as per laid down procedures. If the court inquiry finds the chairperson or any other member guilty and recommends that he/she ought to be removed, the report is then forwarded to the Cabinet which then advises the President accordingly.
Additional Solicitor General Indira Jaising, who had also asked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to remove Ganguly, had in an article revealed excerpts from the intern`s affidavit submitted before a Supreme Court panel.