The Union Cabinet on Thursday gave its nod for making a Presidential Reference to the Supreme Court for removal of Justice A.K. Ganguly as Chairperson of the West Bengal Human Rights Commission.
The process will be set in motion once the Reference under Article 143 is sent to the court for its advisory opinion. Under Article 143, the President may refer a dispute of any kind to the Supreme Court for its opinion and it may, after a hearing as it thinks fit, report to the President.
The Terms of Reference are: will the prima facie indictment by a three-judge probe panel that Justice Ganguly made ‘unwelcome sexual advances’ towards a law intern amount to proven misconduct? If the answer is ‘yes’, can it be a ground warranting his removal under Section 23 (1A) of the Protection of Human Rights Act?
Justice Ganguly has the option of resigning before the completion of the hearing. In that case, the Reference will become infructuous.
On receipt of the Presidential Reference, the court will hear the matter in open court, issue notice to Justice Ganguly, the law intern and the witnesses to be cited by her.
The court will issue notice to Attorney-General G.E. Vahanvati and also to the Advocate-General of West Bengal government as it was on its complaint to the President the Reference is being made.
The President forwarded the complaint to the Union Home Ministry, which after obtaining Mr. Vahanvati’s opinion put up a Cabinet note for making the Reference.
Our Staff Reporter reports from Kolkata:
Justice Ganguly said in Kolkata that he had no comment on the Cabinet decision. “I do not know anything, officially. I have nothing to comment,” he told The Hindu.