Law intern dismisses justice Ganguly`s claim of innocence, hints at filing police complaint

The law intern, who has accused retired Supreme Court judge AK Ganguly of alleged sexual harassment, has out-rightly rejected latter`s claim of innocence, reports said on Tuesday.

Zee Media Bureau/Ritesh K Srivastava

New Delhi: The law intern, who has accused retired Supreme Court judge AK Ganguly of alleged sexual harassment, has out-rightly rejected latter`s claim of innocence, reports said on Tuesday.

The reaction from the law intern came in response to a letter written by justice Ganguly to the Chief Justice of India P Sathasivam in which he claimed innocence.

The intern also stated that in order to preserve her dignity and that of the Supreme Court, she authorised Additional Solicitor General Indira Jaising to make her statement public.

"As the University did not have a policy against sexual harassment of women students during internship, it was indicated to me that any action would be ineffective. I was also informed that the only route for me was to file a complaint with the police, which I was reluctant to do," she said in a fresh statement.

“Even after the operative portion of the report of the Committee, was made public, many eminent citizens and legal luminaries continued to deride the Committee`s findings, and malign me. To preserve my own dignity as well as that of the Supreme Court, I authorised Additional Solicitor General of India Indira Jaising to make my statement public,” she further said.

"I request that it be acknowledged that I have the discernment to pursue appropriate proceedings at appropriate times. I ask that my autonomy be respected fully," the law intern said.

On Monday, justice AK Ganguly wrote a letter to Chief Justice of India P Sathasivam denying the allegation against him.

The former Supreme Court Judge, in the eight-page letter, also complained that the Supreme Court "did not address me correctly" and blamed "powerful interests" of trying to tarnish his image due to certain rulings delivered by him.

Justice Ganguly, who is under pressure to step down as chairman of the West Bengal Human Rights Commission, denied allegations of sexually harassing or making unwelcome advances to the woman intern.

"After deep consideration of all that is going on in the media with reference to some allegations of an intern about me, I am constrained to break my silence. I wish to make it clear that I never harassed nor did I make any unwelcome advances to any female intern," Ganguly said in the letter, a copy of which he has also forwarded to President Pranab Mukherjee.

"I have been distressed by some recent happenings. I am anguished that the Supreme Court under your Lordship did not address me correctly," Justice Ganguly said.

In his letter, Justice Ganguly alleged, "There is a concerted move to tarnish my image as I had the unfortunate duty of rendering certain judgements against powerful interests."

Justice Ganguly was part of a bench which had delivered various orders in 2G allocation scam including scrapping of 122 licenses granted by Centre to Telecom companies.

Claiming that he was denied a copy of the intern`s affidavit containing her statement but the same was later leaked to a media, Ganguly alleged it to be a "palpable design" to malign him and demanded an urgent inquiry.
"I was told that the intern had made a statement with certain annexure. I politely asked for a copy. I was told curtly that the proceedings being confidential, I will not be given a copy. There was a compulsive tone to it.

"I was shocked to find that the substantial portion of the intern`s statement was leaked out verbatim to a Bengali newspaper. I am left to wonder," said Ganguly.

"The newspaper says that it got the materials from the Law Ministry. I, therefore, demand an urgent inquiry to find out at whose instance it was leaked out. I see in the whole game a palpable design to malign me at the instance of interested quarters," said the former judge.

From questioning the procedures followed by the probe committee to being treated "like a person in captivity", Ganguly raised several issues including about its jurisdiction. He argued that since the intern was not on the rolls of the Supreme Court and he was a retired judge, the committee was "not required to be constituted".
Stating that no complaint was filed either before the apex court or before the CJI by the intern, Ganguly contended that "a newspaper report (November 12), without any verification, could certainly not have been the basis of a petition by attorney general, on which your lordship is reported to have acted".

"Thus the stated reasons that the committee was set up to find out whether the judge was a sitting judge cannot be accepted because the blog expressly disclosed a retired judge," said Ganguly referring to the intern describing about her alleged ordeal on a blog.

Appearing in "good faith and without questioning its authority", he said the conduct of court officials and the proceedings before the probe committee "were far from appropriate".

"No complaint was ever made before Supreme Court or before your Lordship in any form by the intern at any time prior to the formation of the judges` committee and presumably at the direction of the committee she gave her statement," he said.

"I was treated almost like a person in captivity. Has this been done under your Lordship`s direction? I hope not," wrote the West Bengal Human Rights Commission (WBHRC) chairperson in the letter.