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Kapil Sibal ‘deeply disappointed’ in SC as calls for AK Ganguly resignation grow; Communists see conspiracy

Former Supreme Court Justice AK Ganguly continued insisting that he would not resign from his chair at the West Bengal Human Rights Commission (WBHRC).

Calls for him to step down grew meanwhile, with the Trinamool Congress, the BJP, Congress and additional solicitor general Indira Jaising asking for his resignation.

A panel of three sitting SC judges found there was a prima facie case against Ganguly last week, for the alleged sexual harassment of his intern last year.

Jaising applauded the Supreme Court’s conduct in an interview with the Business Standard, but noted:

“I believe that the higher the position you occupy, the greater you have to be above any form of suspicion. The principle - innocent until proven guilty - doesn't apply in the realm of constitutional law, in the realm of public law or institutions which [former Chief] Justice Kapadia referred to as ‘integrity institutions’. Also, here, there is not just suspicion but a prima facie case against Justice Ganguly.

I am shocked that in spite of the committee's report, senior members of the bar have maintained that there is no need for Justice Ganguly to resign. They are doing the SC and themselves a great disservice.

She however maintained that in the absence of a law to deal with the situation, the Supreme Court had “more than lived up to its reputation” by way of the administrative action it took.

Ganguly, who has not been at work since his indictment, “angrily” told PTI reporters: “I will not answer any question of yours. I will do whatever I have to.”

West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee boycotted a human rights event, which Ganguly was supposed to host in Kolkata today, added the report.

Trinamool Congress leader Derek O’Brien tweeted today: “Today is United Nations Human Rights Day. Former Supreme Court judge Ashok Ganguly is continuing as chief of WBHRC. Sir, please don’t mock your office,” reported The Hindu.

Meanwhile, the Hindu went on to say,  Banerjee had written two letters to the President of India, Pranab Mukherjee, demanding Ganguly’s resignation, while BJP leaders Sushma Swaraj and Smriti Irani have also pressed for the demand.

Contrary to Jaising, law minister Kapil Sibal expressed disappointment with the Supreme Court, according to an ANI report:

If he was no longer a judge, they should not have set up an enquiry. After coming to a conclusion, they cannot give this reason. I was hoping they would take the matter on the judicial side and treat it like any other case. I am deeply disappointed in the way they have dealt with the matter.

Social activist and retired IPS officer Kiran Bedi called for the police to immediately record the intern’s statement.

However, Outlook reported that in West Bengal, Communist Party of India (Marxist) leaders, while “not wanting to be seen as making light of the charge of sexual harassment”, suspected a conspiracy to depose of Ganguly.

The former judge had been a thorn in the side of the Banerjee-led covernment in the state for his critical decisions as WBHRC chairmanship.

On Legally India, journalist Nikhil Kanekal explored the media frenzy and intern’s choices, surrounding the #InternJudge story.

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