Kolkata: Justice A K Ganguly, who quit as Chairman of the West Bengal Human Rights Commission, today attacked the Supreme Court over the inquiry by its three-judge panel into the sexual assault allegations against him, saying he was “very badly and unfairly” treated.
Claiming that he quit in “disgust”, the 66-year-old former Supreme Court judge also said he would prefer jail to filing a defamation case against the law intern who levelled the sexual harassment allegation, as she was his student.
“I will never do anything against someone who was my student. I would rather go to jail,” Ganguly told reporters when asked whether he would file a defamation case against the intern.
Ganguly, who quit in the wake of mounting pressure after he was indicted by a three-member panel of judges of the Supreme Court, denied any wrong doing and alleged he was not given a fair chance by the apex court.
“I have been very badly and unfairly treated by the Supreme Court. I was not given a fair chance by the Supreme Court panel,” he told CNN-IBN.
Stating that Supreme Court jurisdiction doesn’t apply on a retired judge, he also questioned the appointment of the panel.
“The intern never complained to the SC, then why was a panel formed? I appeared before the court in good faith. The Supreme Court panel acted without jurisdiction and basis against me. I am questioning the role of my fellow judges in the Supreme Court,” he added.
On the panel’s observation which had found ‘unwelcome behaviour’ on his part, Ganguly shot back, “Unwelcome to whom?
“I did not force her to stay with me. Neither I forced her to drink wine. Can I force if one is not willing to take it? If she did not like, she could have left before dinner also.”
The panel had held that the statement of the intern, both written and oral, had prima facie disclosed “an act of unwelcome behaviour (unwelcome verbal/non-verbal conduct of sexual nature)” by the judge with her in the Le Meridien hotel room in Delhi on December 24, 2012.
Ganguly claimed he was not given a copy of the statement of the law intern given to the apex court panel on the ground it was a “secret” and said this was an “insult” to him.
The former apex court judge said he had written a detailed letter in this regard to the Chief Justice of India P Sathasivam and he had not got any reply it. Ganguly said she wished the intern well.
“I wish her well. She was quite an efficient intern. I wish her success in whatever she chooses in her life,” he said.
He said that since the alleged incident at a Delhi hotel on December 24, 2012 he had not met her.
Denying all allegations made against him, Ganguly said there is no charge against him.
Asked whether he felt there was a political conspiracy against him, Justice Ganguly replied, “I can’t say whether it is a political conspiracy.
“The West Bengal government never liked my continuance as chairman of state human rights commission. No dissent is allowed in Bengal. This is well-known to everyone.”
“I have not done anything to feel ashamed of. The allegations were made by the intern 11 months after the incident. This was organised to defame me. The West Bengal government was very uncomfortable with me as the WBHRC Chief.”
Asked about the reason for stepping down, Ganguly said it was getting difficult for him to work under the situation.
“I stepped down for my family’s happiness, and the dignity and honour of Human Rights Commission,” said Ganguly, adding his family had suffered a lot.
“I feel shattered by the allegations that have been made, they are very unreasonable.”
He also said that Vishaka guidelines did not apply in the case as the girl was not interning with him.
Stating that he had taken action in a number of cases against women-related atrocities, he said he was pained when it was said that his continuance on the human rights panel brought disrepute to the post.
“I have been very active on women’s issues and gave orders immediately. Ask women’s bodies this,” he said, denying that his resignation was an admission of guilt.
Asked whether he felt relieved or disappointed after resigning, Ganguly replied, “It was not disappointment. I am not giving up the fight for ensuring human rights.”
On how would he spend his life ahead, he said he would work for restoring his human rights and there would be no disruption in his fight for the rights of the common people.
“I am also quite open to working again with interns,” he added.