AG to govt: A K Ganguly case fit for President to refer to SC

A k gangulyFormer Supreme Court judge Ashok Kumar Ganguly is accused of sexual harassment by a young woman law intern. (PTI)

Clearing the decks to launch formal proceedings to remove retired Supreme Court judge A K Ganguly from the post of West Bengal Human Rights Commission chairman, Attorney General G E Vahanvati Friday told the government to advise the President that Ganguly's was a fit case to make a reference to the Supreme Court.

In his legal opinion sent to the law ministry, Vahanvati, it is learnt, told the government that a case for removal of Ganguly from his post was made out as per Section 23 (1A) of the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993, and President Pranab Mukherjee should be accordingly advised to make a reference to the Supreme Court.

Sources in the law ministry told The Indian Express that the opinion has been sent to the MHA to be passed on to Rashtrapati Bhawan.

Section 23 (1A), which deals with the subject of removal from office of chairperson and members of state human rights commissions, says that such removal can be ordered by the President "on the ground of proved misbehaviour or incapacity" after the Supreme Court, on a reference being made to it by the President, holds that the chairperson/member should be removed.

In his detailed opinion, the AG is learnt to have referred to settled law to say why a reference should be made to the apex court.

As first reported by The Indian Express, the President earlier this week sought the advice of the home ministry on whether a reference should be made to the Supreme Court for an inquiry to establish whether the allegation against Ganguly - that he sexually harassed a law intern in a five-star hotel in New Delhi last December - constituted misbehaviour to merit his removal from office.

The President's action came after West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee wrote to him seeking Ganguly's removal.

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