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Lawyers to protest Ganguly ‘humiliation’

Calcutta, Dec. 17: A section of Calcutta High Court lawyers today set up a committee to protest “efforts to malign” former Supreme Court judge Asok Ganguly, accused of harassing an intern.

Barring members of the Trinamul lawyers’ cell, most other advocates of the high court supported the move.

“As a mark of protest against the humiliation of Justice Ganguly, lawyers of Calcutta High Court will hold a rally on Wednesday,” advocate Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharyya told reporters today. The rally will be held in front of the court.

Referring to Ganguly’s stint as the state human rights panel chairman, Bhattacharyya said: “As chairman of the state human rights commission, Ganguly made several unique recommendations. But these recommendations put the state government in an embarrassing situation. This may be the cause of Justice Ganguly’s humiliation.”

Bhattacharyya said that although the intern’s blog had been treated as a preliminary complaint, a case against Ganguly did not stand.

Advocate Milan Mukherjee said the manner in which Ganguly had been “humiliated” by the Supreme Court and additional solicitor-general Indira Jaising had “created panic in the minds of lawyers and judges of the courts”.

“We are not going to tolerate this any more. How could the Supreme Court initiate an inquiry on the basis of a blog written by an intern?” he added.

In an article in The Indian Express newspaper yesterday, Jaising had made public purported excerpts from the affidavit of the girl to a Supreme Court panel of three judges.

Mukherjee said “a section of politicians and companies” that had to “suffer on account of Justice Ganguly’s judgment in the 2G case was responsible for humiliating and maligning him”.

Senior advocate and Trinamul MP Kalyan Banerjee refused comment. “Whatever I have to say, I will say later.”

Supreme Court advocate Ram Jethmalani, who is appearing in Calcutta High Court in connection with another case, told reporters today that he knew Ganguly “for long”.

Asked about the allegation against Ganguly, Jethmalani said: “What women say is not always true and what men say is not always false. During cross-examination, the truth will come out.”

Shiladitya case

The government today informed Calcutta High Court that the state human rights commission had extended till February 21 the time for paying compensation to farmer Shiladitya Chowdhury.

Ganguly had recommended that the government pay Rs 2 lakh in compensation to Chowdhury, who had been branded a Maoist by the chief minister and had to spend 15 days in judicial custody.

The court chided the government lawyer for not informing the court earlier about the extension of the time frame.

The court adjourned till tomorrow the hearing of the case.