Justice Ganguly prima facie guilty of 'unwelcome behaviour'

New Delhi, Dec 5 : A three-member committee of Supreme Court judges, probing charges of sexual harassment against retired judge A.K. Ganguly, Thursday held him prima facie guilty of engaging in "unwelcome behaviour" with a law intern in a Delhi hotel in December last year.

The apex court Thursday ruled out any action by it, noting that Ganguly was not a sitting judge when the incident occurred.

The committee's report was submitted to Chief Justice P. Sathasivam Nov 28 and posted on the apex court website Thursday. The report was dated Nov 27.

It said: "The Committee is of the considered view that the statement of (law intern, now a lawyer) both written and oral, prima facie discloses an act of unwelcome behaviour (unwelcome verbal/non-verbal conduct of sexual nature) by Justice (retd) A.K. Ganguly with her in the room in hotel Le Meridien on Dec 24, 2012, approximately between 8 p.m. and 10.30 p.m."

The committee said that prior to drawing this conclusion, it both carefully scrutinised the statements of the complainant, the affidavits of her three witnesses and the statement of Justice Ganguly.

"It appears to the committee that in the evening on Dec 24, 2012, (the law intern, now a lawyer) had visited hotel Le Meridien where Mr. Justice (retd) A.K. Ganguly was staying to assist him in his work. This fact is not denied by Mr. Justice (retd) A.K. Ganguly in his statement."

After considering the report, a full bench of the apex court said: "Considering the fact that 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 is required by this court."

"As decided by the full court in its meeting dated Dec 5, 2013, it is made clear that the representations made against former judges of this court are not entertainable by the administration of the Supreme Court," the court said.

Following the media reports on the incident, Chief Justice Sathasivam set up a three-member judges committee to go into the correctness of the allegation by the law intern.

After being considered by the full bench, the apex court's secretary general was directed to supply a copy of the inquiry committee to the intern and Justice Ganguly. The secretary general was also asked to put it on the Supreme Court website.

The lawyer first alleged sexual harassment Nov 6, 2013, in a blog for Journal of Indian Law and Society. Subsequently, she repeated the allegation in an interview to Legally India website.

The young lawyer, who is at present working with the organisation Natural Justice: Lawyers for Communities and Environment, said besides herself she has heard that three other girls too were sexually harassed by the same judge.

She claimed to have knowledge of another four girls who were allegedly harassed by other judges in their chambers.

--IANS (Posted on 05-12-2013)

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