Alleging that there was a concerted move to tarnish his image because of certain judgments he delivered, Justice A K Ganguly, accused of sexually harassing a law intern, on Monday questioned the necessity of the constitution of a Supreme Court committee.
"There is a concerted move to tarnish my image as I had the unfortunate duty of rendering certain judgments against powerful interests," he said in an eight-page letter to Chief Justice of India P Sathasivam, which was also being forwarded to President Pranab Mukherjee.
He said, "I see in the whole game a palpable design to malign me at the instance of interested quarters."
Raising questions about the three-judge committee of the Supreme Court constituted to probe the allegations, Ganguly argued that since the girl intern was not on the rolls of the Supreme Court and he was a retired judge, it was "not required to be constituted".
He said, "I am anguished that the Supreme Court under your Lordship did not address me correctly."
Ganguly said a newspaper report dated December 12 "without any verification" also could not have been the basis of a petition by the Attorney General on which the Chief Justice was reported to have acted. "Thus the stated reason that the committee was set up to find out whether the judge was a sitting judge cannot be accepted because the blog expressly disclosed retired judge," he said raising 36 points in his letter.
"First of all, I wish to make it clear that I never harassed nor did I make any unwelcome advances to any female intern. The very suggestion of it, to say the least, is out of tune with my personal conduct," said Ganguly, also the chairman of West Bengal Human Rights Commission.
Referring to his judgments, the retired judge said, "I judged the issues without fear or favour and if that triggers a collateral attack on me then it poses a threat to the independence of the judiciary."
Justice Ganguly, who has repeatedly rejected the demands for his resignation as the WBHRC chief, said, "As soon as I entered the Supreme Court I was surrounded by a posse of security officers, which was unbecoming of the institution. I was treated almost like a person in captivity. Has this been done under your lordhips' direction? I hope not."
On the Chief Justice's order to constitute a committee, he said, "I do not know why I am singled out for such adverse discrimination by an administrative order sans jurisdiction."
Ganguly demanded an urgent enquiry by the Chief Justice to find out at whose instance the intern's statements were leaked to the media from the Law ministry even before the full court could consider it on December 5 or before the CJI to pass any order on it on the same day. He said he was assured by the SC committee that the statements were confidential and was denied a copy of it even though her statements cast aspersions on his personal behaviour and had an adverse impact on his reputation and honour as a former SC judge. "I politely asked the committee to give me a copy to examine it. I was shattered to be curtly told that I will not be given a copy as it was confidential," he said.
"Although I am denied a copy of the intern's statement, I was shocked to find that the substantial portion of the contents of the statements of the intern were leaked out verbatim to a Bengali newspaper," Ganguly wrote.
He questioned if the proceedings were confidential then why court officials were present. "I am shocked that though the press reports speak about the committee of three judges, but the registrar general (who holds the rank of a district judge) was appointed as a member secretary. His presence was inappropriate. My statement was not even recorded by the judges themselves. They kept their faces turned away," he said.
Justice Ganguly said the 'so-called statements' of the intern were recorded behind his back. "I have never heard of such a procedure. Obviously since the proceedings were not formal, nothing was on affirmation," he said.
"The intern only made a statement and on that there cannot be any administrative inquiry to find out truth of allegations... The report of the committee, if I may humbly point out, has no legal status," he said, adding that the report was not a 'judgment, order or decree'.
Referring to Additional Solicitor General Indira Jaising distributing copies of the intern's affidavit, Ganguly sought to know whether it had the approval of the CJI or members of the committee.
"I assume that such a permission was not given," he said. Stating he took exception that notwithstanding the Full Court's resolution on December 5 that complaints against retired judges were not entertainable by the court on administrative side, he alleged that it was under the CJI's direction that it was put on the apex court's website.
On his meeting with the intern at a Delhi hotel last year, he said, "I clarify that there was a cordial meeting followed by dinner. Thereafter I saw the intern off in a car arranged on my request and made sure she reached her destination safely."
"I have made helpful contributions to many interns both male and female. To this date, I am treated with unbound respect and regards by them," he wrote in the letter.
Ganguly said, "I have no rancour against the intern or those who are instrumental in initiating an enquiry on the administrative side of the court."
Although he was pained by the unfolding of events, he said that in his career, both on and off the bench, his conduct was above reproach. "My moral strength is undiminished... I am sure that providence and history will judge us best," he added.