Cabinet to decide on presidential reference today

A k gangulyAccording to the charges listed by Mamata, Ganguly engaged himself in paid employment during his term.

The Cabinet is likely to take a decision on sending a presidential reference to remove former Supreme Court judge A K Ganguly from the post of West Bengal Human Rights Commission chairman on Thursday.

The Cabinet note prepared by the Ministry of Home Affairs is learnt to have cited three instances, including the allegation of sexual harassment by a law intern, which warrants his removal. The ministry has also included Attorney General G E Vahanvati's opinion that a case is made out against the former judge, said officials.

Besides the allegation of sexual misconduct, it is learnt that the Cabinet note also details a foreign trip and arbitration assignment undertaken by Ganguly without approval. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee in her letter has also raised these issues.

Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde said, "The Home Ministry will place a note before the Cabinet tomorrow on Justice Ganguly. The Cabinet will take a call."

After the Cabinet approves the proposal, a formal advice will be sent to President Pranab Mukherjee, who will then send the matter to the Chief Justice of India, seeking a probe into the issue based on points raised in the reference.

Under the Protection of Human Rights Act, 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".

According to the charges listed by Mamata, Ganguly engaged himself in paid employment during his term. On the day when the alleged sexual misconduct incident took place, he was on a visit to Delhi for an inquiry of the All India Football Federation and he presided over the arbitration. Secondly, he also visited Pakistan in June 2013 without taking leave and air tickets for the trip were provided by a private organisation, said a senior Home Ministry official.

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