Supreme Court rejects plea to block action against Ganguly
The Supreme Court Monday dismissed a petition seeking to restrain the government from proceeding against Justice (retd) A.K. Ganguly, named for sexually harassing a law intern in December 2012.
A bench of Chief Justice P. Sathasivam and Justice Ranjan Gogoi, dismissing the plea by Dr. M. Padma Narayan Singh, said: "We have gone into every word of your averment. We are not going to say anything. We are not expressing any opinion as it may affect the parties. It is too early."
"This is not a matter for our intervention at this stage. We are dismissing it," Chief Justice Sathasivam said as the petitioner took the court through history, literature and the dictionary meaning of sexual harassment besides the legal points.
"We have heard you on general history and your knowledge... What you have said in your petition we have gone through it. You need not repeat it," the court told Singh.
At one stage, Justice Gogoi told the PIL petitioner: "Apart from your locus, look at the prayer. Can we interdict the government from going into the correctness of the allocations (against Justice Ganguly)?"
Besides this, the bench also dismissed another plea by lawyer Uday Gupta, who urged the court to frame regulations for the conduct of retired judges.
Gupta had urged the court to reframe its gender sensitization rules so that any act of harassment outside the precincts of the apex court by anyone connected with it should be ignored.
It said that no violation of the rights of a woman under various fundamental rights should be allowed to pass off merely because the act of alleged harassment had taken place outside the apex court precincts.
The advocate had challenged the administrative order by the apex court following the report of the three-judge inquiry committee holding Justice Ganguly prima facie guilty of unwelcome behaviour of sexual nature towards the law intern.
The order had said that considering the said intern was not an intern on the roll of the Supreme Court and that the concerned judge had already demitted office on account of superannuation on the date of the incident, no further follow-up action was required.
"If you are really representing (for framing of regulations on the conduct of retired judges), then you make representation to the government," the court said as senior counsel M.R. Calla tried to persuade the court. At one stage, the court reminded Calla that he himself had been a judge and knows how things work.
Declining to entertain the plea by Gupta, the chief justice said: "Sorry, we cannot entertain your plea. We are dismissing both the petitions. Let the law take its course."
(Posted on 06-01-2014)