SC refuses to examine charges against Ganguly, rejects pleas

Justice AK GangulyJustice (retd) A K Ganguly comes out of Raj Bhavan, in Kolkata, on Monday evening. Partha Paul

On a day when there was speculation that Justice A K Ganguly has resigned as chairman of the West Bengal Human Rights Commission (WBHRC), the Supreme Court Monday refused to go into the correctness of allegations of sexual harassment made by a lawyer against the former judge who interned under him in December 2012. A three-judge panel set up by the apex court had held him prima facie guilty of "unwelcome behaviour" and "unwelcome conduct of sexual nature".

A Bench of Chief Justice of India P Sathasivam and Justice Ranjan Gogoi dismissed two PILs relating to the accusations, while making it clear that it was not going to entertain any petition at this stage and at the instance of people not associated with the case.

The order of the three-judge panel was passed December 6 on the administrative side. However, while taking up the PILs on the judicial side, the court Monday refused to adjudicate the contentions raised in the public suits.

"Let the law have its play. We are not going to say anything because it may affect somebody's case. We are not going to go into the correctness of the allegations. How can we go into all this at this stage and at your (petitioner's) insistence?," the Bench told Delhi-based doctor M Padma Narayan Singh.

Singh had filed the petition to get all the proceedings stayed against Ganguly and to also restrain the government from taking steps to remove him as the chairperson of the WBHRC. She also alleged that Ganguly has become a victim of conspiracy as he, as an arbitrator, had decided a matter between a prominent football club of Kolkata and All India Football Federation (AIFF) in which the intern had also participated.

The other PIL was filed by advocate Uday Gupta, who sought directive to the Centre for framing appropriate provisions of law to govern the conduct of retired judges. He also pleaded that SC should report the matter to the police through its Registrar General and thereafter, the probe should be monitored.

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