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WBHRC, chaired by AK Ganguly, takes up ‘outraging modesty’ case suo motu

Former Justice AK Ganguly, in his capacity as West Bengal Human Rights Commission (WBHRC) chairman, took suo motu cognisance of a case of “outraging the modesty of a woman” and violent assault that the commission learned about in a newspaper.

A WBHRC bench consisting of Ganguly and member Naparajit Mukherjee directed an investigation into an alleged incident where three female high school students were “eve teased” by a group of men on their way home from school. The men later “brutally assaulted” a brother of one of the girls, the WBHRC registrar told the PTI.

The suspects have been charged under the IPC’s sections 354 (assault or use of criminal force to a woman with intent to outrage her modesty), 506 (uttering any word or making any gesture intended to insult the modesty of a woman), 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), 341 (wrongfully restraining a person), 325 (voluntarily causing grievous hurt), 506 (criminal intimidation) and 34 (common intention).

Ganguly, who was named by an internal Supreme Court inquiry earlier this month as having prima facie committed “an act of unwelcome” verbal and non-verbal “conduct of a sexual nature” against a student intern shortly after his retirement from the apex court in 2012.

Calls for Ganguly’s resignation have grown, including by law minister Kapil Sibal and by additional solicitor general Indira Jaising. Jaising published a blistering open letter containing details of Ganguly’s alleged behaviour yesterday, which allegedly included holding and kissing the intern’s arm and telling her he loved her, requesting her to stay in a hotel room with him.

However, Ganguly has denied any wrongdoing and has said he would not step down from the WBHRC.

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