Home Ministry finalising note for consideration

After consultations with the Law Ministry, which has also received the opinion of Attorney-General G. E. Vahanvati on removal of Justice A. K. Ganguly from chairmanship of the West Bengal Human Rights Commission, the Union Home Ministry is finalising a note which is likely to be placed before the Cabinet for its consideration on Thursday.

The Attorney-General last week informed the Law Ministry that prima facie there was sufficient material for making a Presidential Reference for removal of Justice Ganguly, in the wake of allegations of his unwelcome behaviour towards a law intern.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has already petitioned President Pranab Mukherjee, seeking ouster of Justice Ganguly.

If the Cabinet agrees with the AG’s opinion and if his views are included in the Cabinet note, it would recommend making a Presidential Reference, which would be sent to the Chief Justice of India for seeking an inquiry into the charges against the former Supreme Court judge.

A Supreme Court-appointed three-judge panel examined the law intern’s complaint and indicted Justice Ganguly for indulging in “unwelcome behaviour of a sexual nature.’’

Justice Ganguly also appeared before the enquiry panel. Subsequently, he denied all allegations, saying he had been “devastated and shattered’’ by such accusations.

Under Section 23(1) of the Protection of Human Rights Act, a chairman or member of the National/State Human Rights Commission can be removed only by an order of the President of India on the grounds of proved misbehaviour or incapacity after the Supreme Court, on a reference made by the President, reports, on enquiry, that the chairperson or the member ought to be removed on any such ground.

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