Zee Media Bureau
New Delhi: The three-judge committee looking into the allegations of sexual harassment levied by an intern on retired Justice AK Ganguly on Thursday prima facie disclosed an "act of unwelcome behaviour" and "conduct of sexual nature" on the part of the retired judge.
"We have carefully scrutinized the statement (written as well as oral) of (the intern), the affidavits of her three witnesses and the statement of Mr. Justice (Retd.) A K Ganguly. It appears to the Committee that in the evening on 24.12.2012, she had visited hotel Le Meridien where Mr. Justice (Retd.) A.K. Ganguly was staying to assist him in his work. This fact is not denied by Mr. Justice (Retd.) A.K. Ganguly in his statement.
"Further, the Committee is of the considered view that the statement of (the intern) both written and oral, prima facie discloses an act of unwelcome behaviour (unwelcome verbal/non-verbal conduct of sexual nature) by Mr. Justice (Retd.) A.K. Ganguly with her in the room in hotel Le Meridien on 24.12.2012 approximately between 8.00 P.M. And 10.30 P.M," said the operative portion from the report.
“No further follow up action by SC is required on account of Justice Ganguly`s superannuation on the date of the incident,” Chief Justice of India, P Sathasivam remarked.
In its report, the SC Panel has also remarked that the intern was not on the roll of SC, but her statement indeed showed unwelcome behavior by Justice Ganguly.
The panel arrived at the conclusion after scrutinizing the statement of intern and Justice Ganguly and affidavits of witnesses.
The CJI said on account of the fact that a report appeared in the media on the alleged aberration that it was "Supreme Court Judge", the Committee was constituted and it has submitted its report.
"As decided by the Full Court in its Meeting dated 5th December 2013, it is made clear that the representations made against former Judges of this Court are not entertainable by the administration of the Supreme Court," the CJI`s statement said.
The Secretary General was directed to supply a copy of the Report of the committee to the intern and Justice Ganguly.
The committee comprising justices R M Lodha, H L Dattu and Ranjana Prakash Desai was constituted by Sathasivam after media reports on November 12 that "a recently retired judge" misbehaved with a law intern.
Without naming the judge, she had written in a blog that when the country was discussing the December 16 rape incident in the capital, she had undergone a traumatic experience at the hands of a judge who made advances to her.
The CJI said that taking cognizance of the fact that such allegation against a Supreme Court Judge will have a direct bearing on the institution`s reputation and credibility, he had on the same day appointed the three-member committee to ascertain the truth of the allegations.
The Committee, having scrutinized the statements of the intern, the affidavits of her three witnesses and Justice AK Ganguly, former Judge of this Court, submitted its Report on 28th November, 2013.
The intern had appeared before the committee last month followed by the judge.
Justice Ganguly refused however to comment on his reported indictment by a three-judge Supreme Court panel.
"I won`t say anything," Ganguly told when asked for his reaction on the indictment by a Supreme Court three-judge panel which said the law intern`s statement prima facie discloses "unwelcome behaviour".
"I don`t know what the Supreme Court has said. I won`t make any comment," Ganguly, Chairman of West Bengal Human Rights Commission (WBHRC), said.
Ganguly has all along denied the allegation made by the law intern that she was sexually harassed by him in his room in a five-star hotel in Delhi on Christmas-eve last year.
"I have already denied the allegations. What more will I say?" Ganguly had told earlier.
A general diary has been filed by an NGO before a city police station seeking legal action against Ganguly.
Amid clamour for his resignation as chairman of WBHRC in certain sections, including BJP leader Sushma Swaraj and some Trinamool Congress MPs, Ganguly had said "I have not decided. I am undecided. Time has not come to think about it."
With PTI Inputs