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Ganguly case: Cabinet to take a call Thurs on sending Presidential reference to SC

New Delhi, Jan 1 (PTI): The government is likely to take a decision on Thursday on sending a Presidential reference to the Supreme Court for conducting a probe into allegations of sexual harassment made by an intern against retired judge A K Ganguly.

“The home ministry will place a note before the cabinet tomorrow (to discuss the issue of sending Presidential reference in Ganguly case). The cabinet will take a call,” Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde told reporters here on Wednesday.

The home ministry will also place the views of Attorney General G E Vahanvati, who has noted that a case can be made out against Ganguly, who retired as a Supreme Court judge, following allegations of “unwelcome behaviour” made by a law intern who has since become a practising lawyer.

Sources said once the Cabinet clears the proposal, it will be sent to President Pranab Mukherjee for approval.

Since the President can only act on the advice of the Union Cabinet, he had referred the matter to the government. Once the Cabinet gives its nod, the reference will be sent to the President, who will then send the matter to the Chief Justice of India seeking a probe into the issue based on the three points raised in the reference.

The attorney general was asked for his views after West Bengal’s chief minister, Mamata Banerjee, wrote to the President in December seeking Ganguly's removal from the chairmanship of the state’s Human Rights Commission. The alleged incident had taken place in December 2012, but the former intern posted a blog on November 11 last year about her experience.

Justice Ganguly has strongly denied the charge and refused to quit his post.

Sources said the attorney general had been asked to give views on whether any case can be made out on three issues -- allegation of sexual harassment against Ganguly, his visit to Pakistan without informing the West Bengal government and taking an assignment of arbitration from All India Football Federation despite holding a high post of human rights body.

The Protection of Human Rights Act is clear that a chairperson or member of NHRC or a state human rights commission can be removed only “by order of the President of India on the grounds of proven misbehaviour or incapacity after the Supreme Court, on reference being made to it by the President, has, on enquiry... reported that the Chairperson or the member, as the case may be, ought on any such ground to be removed.”

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