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Indian Supreme Court intern case: a retired justice named
Publication Date : 30-11-2013
A three-member Supreme Court-appointed panel probing the charge of sexual harassment of a young lawyer has identified the judge as Ashok Kumar Ganguly in its report, court sources said.
The report, submitted to Chief Justice P Sathasivam, carries the statements of the victim, a young lawyer who had interned in the Supreme Court, and that of the now retired Justice Ganguly, the sources said.
Denying any sexual harassment of the law intern, Justice Ganguly, who is now the head of the West Bengal Human Rights Commission, said he was “shocked and shattered” by the charges against him. “I am denying everything. I have told the committee that all the allegations levelled by he intern are wrong. I don't know how such allegations have been levelled against me,” he said in his reaction after an SC official released a statement that Justice Ganguly had recorded his statement before the three-judge committee, headed by Justice R M Lodha.
“I totally deny the allegations. I am a victim of situations… I am not ashamed of anything,” he said in reply to a question in regard to the alleged episode which came out in the public domain after the intern wrote about it in a legal portal earlier this month.
Bengal’s ruling Trinamul Congress, which does not have a cordial relationship with the WBHRC, was quick to demand Justice Ganguly’s resignation.
"He has no moral right to continue as the chief of the human rights panel. What he did is a big blot to the judicial system of the country and a person who himself is an accused should not be allowed to determine about others' rights," Trinamul MP Kalyan Banerjee was quoted by IANS as saying.
Justice Ganguly said the charges against him were totally wrong. The girl had not raised any sexual harassment issue with him, he said, adding that he had not done any physical harm to her. He said the intern worked with him though she was not officially allocated to him. She came in place of another intern who had gone abroad after marriage. “I never put up a poster. She came on her own,” he said.
He said the girl had also come to his house on a number of occasions in connection with the work.
Asked about the charge that he had asked her to come to a hotel room, Justice Ganguly said he was in Delhi at that time in connection with work and she was also in Delhi. “I know what she has said. The question is that when I was in Delhi she was also in Delhi. She came on her own to my...,” he said.
He added that there was inconsistency in her statements as she said that she has respect for him and there was no rancour. He said that the intern was like his child and he treated her that way.
Justice Ganguly, who demitted office on 12 February last year, said that if this trend continues it will be difficult for upright judges to continue to work.
“I have worked with several interns in my life, a large number of them and I treat them like my children. They are all well placed in several places in their lives and nobody has made such allegations. I am shocked and shattered,” he said.
The intern had earlier this month told a legal news portal that a “recently retired” judge with whom she was working earlier had sexually harassed her in December last year.