Monday, December 23, 2013

Former judge of India's top court writes to chief judge in sexual harassment case

File photo of Justice AK Ganguly (Pic: Supreme Court of India)
NEW DELHI (AA) - Justice Asok Kumar Ganguly, a former judge of India's Supreme Court who was accused of sexually harassing a law intern, wrote an eight-page letter on Monday to the country's chief justice stating that the case against him was a retribution for judgements he delivered "against powerful interests".

 Ganguly was one of the judges who cancelled mobile network licenses of 122 companies in 2008 after finding that they were not allotted in a transparent manner.

"I have been distressed by some recent happenings. I am anguished that the Supreme Court under your Lordship did not address me correctly," Ganguly wrote in his letter to of P Savasitham, the chief justice of India.

Ganguly was indicted on November 5 by a three-member Supreme Court committee which investigated the allegation of sexual harassment stating that there was evidence of "unwelcome verbal/non-verbal conduct of sexual nature."

However, the chief justice had said the committee decided that "no further follow-up action is required" because the woman’s internship with Justice Ganguly was a private placement and he had retired from Supreme Court by the time charges against him were levelled.

Ganguly allegedly harassed the young intern in a five-star hotel in New Delhi. The young woman had alleged in a signed statement that Ganguly told her he loved her and suggested that she share a room with him.

"First of all, I wish to make it clear that I never harassed nor did I make any unwelcome advances to any female intern. The very suggestion of it, to say the least, is out of tune with my personal conduct," Ganguly wrote in the letter.

Ganguly currently serves as chairman of West Bengal Human Rights Commission, a state rights body. He has refused to quit the post amid calls by lawyers and activists for his resignation even after he was indicted by country’s top court.

The case came to light in October when the alleged victim wrote a blog accusing the judge (without naming him) of sexually harassing her while she interned with him in 2012.

In her blog, she wrote, "In Delhi at that time, interning during the winter vacations of my final year in the university, I dodged police barricades and fatigue to go to the assistance of a highly reputed, recently retired Supreme Court judge whom I was working under during my penultimate semester."

“For my supposed diligence, I was rewarded with sexual assault (not physically injurious, but nevertheless violating) from a man old enough to be my grandfather," she alleged.

Anadolu Agency, December 23, 2013

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