New Delhi: Communist Party of India (Marxist) CPI (M) leader Brinda Karat said Tuesday that former Supreme Court Justice A.K Ganguly who has been accused of sexually harassing a law intern and had to resign as Chairman of West Bengal Human Rights Commission (WBHRC), should prove his innocence through legal procedures.
“Once the Supreme Court has taken a decision with three judges of the court, approved by the chief justice, there is no alternative for Ganguly but to quit from his post and take legal course,” said Karat.
“He should try to prove that he is not guilty through legal procedures, if he claims that he is innocent. He knows well about judicial procedures,” she said.
Justice A.K. Ganguly resigned from the West Bengal Human Rights Commission (WBHRC) on Monday.
Justice Ganguly had earlier distanced himself from a public interest litigation (PIL) petition that was filed in the Supreme Court supporting him.
The PIL was filed by Delhi-based doctor M Padma Narayan Singh in the Supreme Court, seeking a direction to restrain the government from taking any action against Justice Ganguly. But the Supreme Court rejected the petition on Monday.
The petitioner also sought a quashing of the report in which a three-member panel of Supreme Court judges indicted Justice Ganguly for unwelcome behaviour against the woman law intern.
Commenting on the petition, Justice Ganguly had said that he was not connected and had no idea about the PIL.
The three-judge Supreme Court committee probing the complaint filed by the law intern against Ganguly said that there was prima facie evidence.
The three-judge panel, which heard testimonies submitted its report to the Chief Justice of India, P. Sathasivam, naming Ganguly as the accused.
It is the first time that the Supreme Court has set up an internal inquiry into sexual harassment allegations against a presiding or former judge.
Justice Ganguly had also said that he had not filed any petition and had already claimed his innocence.
“I have never filed any PIL. I have no idea of any PIL at all. You are totally wrong in saying that I have filed a PIL. I have nothing to do with this matter,” Justice Ganguly had also said.
In the Supreme Court, and other courts, Justice Ganguly had presided over numerous cases involving crimes against women.
The intern’s allegations created a media furor – with female lawyers, politicians and activists calling for the country’s apex court to investigate the incident and for the accused judge to be named publicly.
The case is one of a small but growing number in which victims of alleged sexual harassment have come forward to complain about powerful male superiors.
Activists say sexual harassment and abuse by powerful and privileged men is widespread in India, but few women have been willing to talk about it.