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Call for FIR initiative

- Letter sent to Chief Justice on intern allegation

New Delhi, Dec. 3: An academic and a former IAS officer have urged the Chief Justice of India to take the initiative to get an FIR registered on the basis of the sexual harassment complaint by a law intern.

The Supreme Court had last week disclosed that the statement of former judge Asok Kumar Ganguly was recorded by a three-judge panel looking into the allegation.

“The Supreme Court has no power to decide a case against a sitting judge or a former judge. We do not feel that the committee has any power to act against the judges. The only thing the committee can now do is to direct the police to register an FIR. They should now ask police to proceed with the investigation,” S.N. Singh, the former dean of the law faculty at the University of Delhi, said today.

“The Supreme Court itself had recently made it mandatory for all police stations in the country to register an FIR upon receipt of complaint. If the police fail to register an FIR, then contempt proceedings should be initiated against them,” Singh said.

Justice Ganguly, now the chairman of the West Bengal Human Rights Commission, had repeatedly denied all the allegations.

Singh and retired IAS officer Promila Shankar today wrote to the Chief Justice, P. Sathasivam.

Speaking to reporters after submitting a copy of the letter, the academic and the retired official said that since the intern, in a blog, had also referred to similar harassment by “4-5 other judges”, the allegations ought to be referred to the President of India for initiating impeachment proceedings.

The signatories to the letter said that Justice Ganguly should not continue as the chair of the rights commission and the apex court should ask the governor to direct the incumbent to demit office, pending an inquiry.

“I have not decided. I am undecided,” PTI quoted Ganguly as saying in Calcutta. “The time has not come to think about it,” he said.

BJP leader Sushma Swaraj joined the chorus of demands for the resignation of Ganguly, saying “not only Caesar’s wife but Caesar too must be above suspicion”.

“I strongly feel that Justice Ganguly should resign as chairperson of West Bengal Human Rights Commission”, the Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha said in a Twitter post.

The Trinamul Congress has already demanded that Ganguly quit office. “This is the first time such an allegation has been made against a former Supreme Court judge who is at present holding the post of WBHRC chairman. He should resign immediately,” said Trinamul MP Kalyan Bandopadhyay.

Additional-solicitor general Indira Jaising was also of the view that Ganguly should resign. “In fact, after his name was disclosed in public he should resign from the current position he is holding,” she said.

Supreme Court lawyer Kamini Jaiswal said Ganguly must resign. “He cannot be deciding. Nobody is going to believe what he decides as a chairman of WBHRC when there are such serious allegations against him,” she said.

Former attorney general Soli Sorabjee has, however, said Ganguly need not resign. “No. I don’t think so. Because he says these allegations are baseless. Why should he? We are in the realm of accusations,” Sorabjee said. “...Dangerous precedent,” the jurist added.

Singh, the academic, had filed a complaint with the Tilak Marg on November 14 for registration of an FIR on the basis of the blog written by the intern. However, the police and the victim had both taken a stand that they do not want to go ahead with the FIR since the Supreme Court is seized of the matter.

Singh had also filed a PIL in the apex court to prevent the Centre from using official data through foreign servers in the wake of the recent snooping allegations against the US. However, the court had dismissed his plea.

Shankar, the retired IAS officer, has also filed a PIL in the apex court for fast-tracking of all criminal cases against sitting legislators like MPs, MLAs, MLCs. The PIL is still pending.