Government on Thursday appeared to be moving towards making a presidential reference for removal of Justice A K Ganguly as head of the West Bengal Human Rights Commission in the wake of his indictment by a Supreme Court committee for "unwelcome behaviour" towards a law intern.
The law ministry and the home ministry are learnt to be in agreement that prima facie a case can be made out against the former Supreme Court judge, sources said in New Delhi.
The matter has now been referred to Attorney General G E Vahanvati to work out legal details.
The procedure of referring the matter to a senior law officer ensures that the case presented in the presidential reference is watertight to withstand the scrutiny of the apex court.
The home ministry had recently referred the matter to the law ministry.
The move came after President Pranab Mukherjee referred to the home ministry a letter by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee seeking Ganguly's removal from the high post following a woman law intern's allegation of sexual harassment against the former judge. Justice Ganguly has strongly denied the charge and refused to quit his post.
The presidential reference to be made to the apex court will first be cleared by the Union Cabinet before it is sent to the President.
The Protection of Human Rights Act is clear that a chairperson or member of the NHRC or a state human rights commission can only be removed "by order of the President of India on the grounds of proven misbehaviour or incapacity after the Supreme Court, on reference being made to it by the President, has, on enquiry...reported that the Chairperson or the member, as the case may be, ought on any such ground to be removed."
Image: Justice Ganguly