Lawmakers demand ex-SC judge’s resignation over sexual harassment charges

New Delhi/Kolkata, Dec.6: Cutting across party lines, politicians on Friday demanded resignation of former Supreme Court Justice, A. K. Ganguly over allegations of sexually assaulting a law intern.

The three-judge committee of the Supreme Court which probed the complaint filed by the law graduate against Ganguly had said that there was prima facie evidence.

The Supreme Court set up a three-judge panel, which heard testimonies from both the law intern and Ganguly and submitted its report to Chief Justice of India, P. Sathasivam, naming Ganguly as the accused. However, later the apex court stopped all proceedings on grounds that it could not administratively act against an ex-judge.

It is the first time India’s Supreme Court has set up an internal inquiry into sexual harassment allegations against a presiding or former judge.

Denying the allegations, Justice Ganguly, 66, said that he was “shocked and shattered” by the allegations made against him by a 22-year-old lawyer who had interned with him.

Trinamool Congress lawmaker Sukhendu Sekhar Roy said: “Justice Ganguly should immediately resign and legal action should be taken against him.”

Ganguly is the Chairman of Human Rights Commission in West Bengal and has presided over numerous cases involving crimes against women in his career as a judge.

Meanwhile, Chairperson of National Commission for Women, Mamta Sharma said that they would issue a notice to Justice Ganguly.

“I believe that action should be taken against former Supreme Court Justice, A. K. Ganguly and the women commission will take a strong step in this regard and will not step back. We will issue a notice to him,” said Sharma.

The law intern wrote in a blog post on November 6 that a top judge assaulted her in a hotel room last December – just when huge protests were taking place over the fatal gang rape and murder of a physiotherapist in New Delhi.

The intern’s allegations created a media furore – with female lawyers and activists calling for the country’s top court to investigate the incident and for the accused judge to be named publicly.

Earlier, Bharatiya Janata Party leader Sushma Swaraj had demanded the resignation of Justice Ganguly

BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar said: “Already, Leader of Opposition, Sushma Swaraj, has already demanded that he should resign and therefore that’s our stand and so, we are not adding anything further because the matter is in the public domain.”

The report has not been made public and it is not clear what action the chief justice will take, but lawyers and feminists are calling for a police complaint to be registered and for an inquiry.

The case is one of a small but growing number in which victims of alleged sexual harassment have come forward to complain about powerful male superiors.

Activists say sexual harassment and abuse by powerful and privileged men is widespread in India, but few women have been willing to talk about it. (ANI)