Law intern issue can`t be `brushed under the carpet`: Kapil Sibal

Law Minister Kapil Sibal questioned decision of Supreme Court of not taking action against Justice AK Ganguly, indicted in a case of sexual harassment saying issue cannot be "brushed under carpet".

New Delhi: Law Minister Kapil Sibal on Friday questioned the decision of the Supreme Court of not taking further action against Justice AK Ganguly, indicted in a case of sexual harassment just because he has retired, saying the issue cannot be "brushed under the carpet".

"I am a little disappointed because the institution which has found that sexual overtures were made, was to have taken the matter forward," he told reporters here.

He said in his view, prima facie the apex court has "brushed it under the carpet, in a sense that they have said that they have nothing to do with the matter because he is no longer a judge."

A three-judge committee of the apex court has indicted Justice Ganguly for "unwelcome behaviour" and "conduct of sexual nature" towards a woman law intern.

Justice Ganguly, who retired from the apex court more than a year ago and currently heads the West Bengal Human Rights Commission, was accused by the intern of sexually harassing her in a hotel room in Delhi last year. He has strongly denied the charge.

Chief Justice of India Justice P Sathasivam had yesterday explained that since Justice Ganguly was not a serving judge at the time of the incident, no further follow up action was required by the Supreme Court.

"Well, if he was no longer a judge, then they should not have set up the inquiry. Having come to a conclusion, they cannot give that reason to say they won`t take it forward," Sibal said.

Sibal said he hoped that the Supreme Court would take the matter on the judicial side and treat it like they treat the matter of any ordinary citizen.

"After all, those who are infallible are also ordinary mortals. And if they are found to have violated, especially the court which always protects the dignity of individuals especially of women, should not be seen to be wanting as they are in this case," he said in unusually strong remarks.

He said just as the apex court is monitoring cases of corruption, it should be monitoring the cases of this nature, "especially when it comes to dignity of women".

Women and Child Development Minister Krishna Tirath said if the charge against the retired judge is true, he should quit from his position as head of the West Bengal State Human Rights Commission.

"...And whatever appropriate action is required, should be taken," she added.

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