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Ex-CJI Altamas Kabir to become NUJS prof; Faculty critical of his #InternJudge conspiracy theory

Kabir: Willing to associate (and to suspect conspiracy)
Kabir: Willing to associate (and to suspect conspiracy)
NUJS Kolkata will appoint former Chief Justice of India (CJI) Altamas Kabir as an honorary professor by Monday, if no objections are received.

However, some faculty members expressed reservations over the move to the Times of India after Kabir was seen as someone who “backs and supports” former Supreme Court judge AK Ganguly, who is accused of having sexually harassed a former student of the same university.

NUJS vice chancellor Prof Ishwara Bhatt, via the college’s assistant registrar, circulated a note to the college’s academic council, which read:

The University seeks to appoint Hon’ble Justice Altamas Kabir, former Chief Justice of Indian in the capacity of an Honorary Professor of WBNUJS.

Justice Kabir has expressed his willingness to get associated with the University in this capacity, on a request made by the Vice Chancellor, WBNUJS. Justice Kabir will be taking classes on ‘Law and the Child’ in the winter semester as an optional paper and on ‘Human Rights’ in the monsoon semester, if this proposal meets your approval.

If no reply from you is received by 16/12/2013, it would be presumed that you have approved the proposal for appointment of Justice Altamas Kabir.

After the Supreme Court panel examining the case said last week that a prima facie case was made against Ganguly for having sexually harassed an intern one year ago, Kabir told media that “allegations will always be made… The more people move higher up in their lives the more there are conspiracies against them. Allegations can be made anywhere against anybody”.

Claiming that NUJS faculty members were “distressed” with the proposal, an unnamed staff member told the TOI:

“We flagged the issue in November itself and demanded the university investigate the issue at the earliest so that a clear message is sent that NUJS is a safe environment for our students. Yet no steps were taken. Now we received the internal note on Kabir's proposed appointment. Instead of sending a strong message that NUJS views the shameful harassment incident very seriously and such incidents should never happen when students go on university internships, we want to appoint an ex-CJI who backed Justice Ganguly and supports him.”

No action yet on Ganguly

NUJS Kolkata has taken no action to remove former Supreme Court judge AK Ganguly as an honorary professor at the law school, a week after a Supreme Court judges’ panel said there was a prima facie case against him for sexually harassing a former student of the law school when she was interning with him last year, reported the PTI.

Blaming the lack of a formal complaint at the law school by the intern, NUJS vice chancellor Ishwara Bhatt said: “Any removal of a honorary professor appointed by the executive council can be done by the executive council only after following certain procedures.”

Ganguly is also a member of the general council at the law school by virtue of being the chairman of the West Bengal Human Rights Commission (WBHRC). He has not been attending university since the Puja vacation, according to the report.

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