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Rediff.com  » News » Intern case: Justice Ganguly named in report; refutes charges

Intern case: Justice Ganguly named in report; refutes charges

Last updated on: November 29, 2013 18:46 IST

Justice A K Ganguly, former judge of the Supreme Court, believed to have been accused by a law intern of sexual harassment, has recorded a statement before the three-judge committee, which has submitted its report.

The Committee headed by Justice R M Lodha submitted the report on Thursday after recording the statement of Justice Ganguly, who is now heading the West Bengal Human Rights Commission, an apex court official said on Friday.

Ganguly demitted office as Supreme Court judge on February 3, 2012.

 "The committee constituted to inquire into the allegations of sexual harassment levelled by the law intern against a former SC judge held its meetings on November 13, 18, 19, 20, 21, 26 and 27.

"The statement of law intern was recorded. She had also submitted three affidavits. The statement of Mr Justice (retired) A K Ganguly has also been recorded by the committee. The committee has submitted its report to the CJI on November 28," the official said in a statement.

 Officials, however, did not give any further details of the findings of the committee comprising also Justices H L Dattu, and Ranjana Prakash Desai, which was constituted by the CJI on November 12.

The intern had earlier this month told a legal news portal that a "recently retired" judge with whom she was working earlier had sexually harassed.

Hit by the allegation, the Supreme Court constituted the three-judge committee to go into the charge of the intern.

Justice Ganguly was elevated to the Supreme Court on December 17, 2008, and demitted office on February 3, 2012.

The intern, in a blog, had accused the retired judge of having misbehaved with her in a hotel room last December when the nation was grappling with the gang-rape of a 23-year-old woman in the national capital.

On November 18, the intern appeared before the panel and gave details of the incident and on November 21, she had sent certain applications and affidavits to the panel.

While setting up the panel on November 12, Justice Sathasivam had observed that he was concerned as head of the institution (judiciary).

"In the cases of sexual harassment, we cannot take it lightly," the CJI had said.

The young woman intern had first come out in public by writing her experience and ordeal in a blog of NGO 'Natural Justice: Lawyers for Communities and the Environment', with which she has been working.

She has also got support and solidarity from her employer NGO.

Denying charges of sexually harassing a young law intern, Justice Ganguly said he was "shocked and shattered" by the charges against him.

"I am denying everything. I have told the committee that all the allegations levelled by the intern are wrong. I don't know how such allegations have been levelled against me," he told PTI.

"I totally deny the allegations. I am a victim of situations," he said.

"I am not ashamed of anything," he said in reply to a question about the alleged episode which came out in the public domain after the intern spoke about in a legal portal earlier in November.

Justice Ganguly said the charges against him were totally wrong. The girl had not raised any such issue with him, he said, adding that he had not done any physical harm to her.

The former judge said the intern worked with him though she was not officially allocated to him. She came in the place of another intern who had gone abroad after marriage.

"I never put up a poster. She came on her own," he said.

He said the girl had come to his house on a number of occasions in connection with work.

Asked about the charge that he had asked her to come to a hotel room, Justice Ganguly said he was in Delhi at that point of time in connection with work and she was also in Delhi.

"I know what she has said. The question is that when I was in Delhi, she was also in Delhi. She came on her own..." he said.

"If anybody felt uncomfortable to work with me she was free to leave," he said.

He said the intern was like his child and he treated her that way.

Asked if he was worried whether the three-judge committee will pass strictures against him, he said, "I don't know what kind of strictures will be there."

On whether he felt that the committee could have preconceived notions about him, he said, "I am not saying anything."

Asked whether the allegations have cast a shadow on him, Jutsice Ganguly said he has faith in the people and the people will judge him by his conduct and by his judicial work.

Justice Ganguly, who demitted office on February 12 last year, said that if this "trend" continues, it will be difficult for upright judges to continue to work.

"I have worked with several interns in my life and I treat them like my children. They are all well-placed in their lives and nobody has made such allegations. I am shocked and shattered," he said.

He said that his case should be not compared with that of Tarun Tejpal, who has been accused of sexually assaulting a colleague.

"Don't compare this case with Tejpal. Please," he told a television channel.

Reacting to a question about how he would prove his innocence, Justice Ganguly shot back, "How can I prove the negative?"

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