Mohun Bagan ‘used female intern’ to frame Justice AK Ganguly, says PIL
New Delhi: As the Central government on January 02 cleared the proposal for Presidential reference for ex-Supreme Court judge Asok Kumar Ganguly’s removal as head of WBHRC in connection with sexual harassment allegations made against him by a law intern, a public suit seeking to quash the complaint against the retired judge was filed in the apex court on Friday.
An apex court bench headed by Chief Justice P Sathasivam said it would hear the plea on Monday after petitioner Padma Narayan Singh sought a direction to restrain the government from taking any action against Justice Ganguly.
The petitioner said Ganguly was being maligned and was a victim of conspiracy as he had in an arbitration suspended Mohun Bagan for walking out of a football league match against the East Bengal club.
The All India Football Federation subsequently revoked Mohun Bagan’s suspension but slapped a Rs 2 crore fine on it.
“In this well planned criminal conspiracy against Justice Ganguly, Mohun Bagan used the said female intern who has prepared the case report on the club in the above arbitration matter… Mohun Bagan managing director Anjan Mitra has written to AIFF president Praful Patel asking him to review the judgment passed by Justice Ganguly on the ground of his questionable integrity as he had been accused by the said female intern of sexually harassing her,” the petition read.
The retired apex court judge on Friday quit as guest faculty of the National University of Juridical Sciences, but again denied the allegations against him.
“I strongly deny the allegation of sexual harassment made by her (law intern) against me. However, since some of the members of the faculty expressed their reservations about my continuance with NUJS as a member of the guest faculty, I voluntarily opt out of that position and do not want to continue as a member of the guest faculty and be a burden on NUJS,” Ganguly said in his letter.
Cabinet clears note for presidential reference
After the Union Cabinet nod, the Centre will now sent a formal proposal to President Pranab Mukherjee seeking his consent to begin process for removing justice AK Ganguly as the chief of WBHRC.
After the President gives his consent, a three-member panel will be formed to probe charges of alleged misconduct against Ganguly, and if found guilty, prime facie, the former apex court will be sacked as the head of WBHRC.
The plea seeking proposal for presidential reference against Ganguly was moved by the West Bengal government to the MHA, which forwarded it to the Union Cabinet for its approval.
Justice Ganguly has strongly denied the charge and refused to quit his post. Sources said the Attorney General had been asked to give views on whether any case can be made out on three issues — allegation of sexual harassment against Ganguly, his visit to Pakistan without informing West Bengal government and taking an assignment of arbitration from All India Football Federation despite holding a high post of human rights body.
The Protection of Human Rights Act is clear that a chairperson or member of 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”.