The Supreme Court will hear on January 6 a writ petition to restrain the government from attempting to remove A.K. Ganguly as chairperson of the West Bengal Human Rights Commission on the basis of a law intern’s charge of sexual harassment.
A Bench of Chief Justice P. Sathasivam and Justice Ranjan Gogoi agreed to list the petition filed by M. Padma Narayan Singh, when she, as a ‘party in person,’ sought urgent hearing. She sought quashing of the intern’s complaint to the three-member committee of the Supreme Court that concluded that there was ‘unwelcome behaviour’ on the part of Justice Ganguly against the intern.
The petitioner alleged that there was a collective conspiracy to remove Justice Ganguly, due to enormous media pressure generated by Additional Solicitor-General Indira Jaising, who released the intern’s affidavit. Justice Ganguly became a victim of conspiracy because he, as an arbitrator, had decided a matter between a prominent football club of Kolkata and the All India Football Federation (AIFF), in which the intern also participated.
The petitioner contended that the provisions of the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013, would not be applicable in the case, for the allegations pertained to an incident that occurred in December 2012 when the Act was not in force. Moreover, she said, the Supreme Court had no jurisdiction to constitute a committee.