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Asok quits law school

Calcutta, Jan. 3: Asok Ganguly, the former Supreme Court judge accused of sexually harassing an intern, voluntarily opted out of the post of guest lecturer of National University of Juridical Sciences (NUJS) today.

“Since some of the members of the faculty expressed their reservations about my continuance with NUJS as a member of the guest faculty, I voluntarily opt out of the position and do not want to continue as a member of the guest faculty and be a burden on NUJS,” Ganguly wrote in a letter to NUJS vice-chancellor P. Ishwara Bhatt today.

After retiring from the Supreme Court, Ganguly had started delivering one-hour lectures on constitutional litigation at NUJS every week. The intern who had complained of sexual harassment was a student of the law school off EM Bypass.

NUJS vice-chancellor Bhatt said he had received a letter from Ganguly this evening where he had expressed his willingness to opt out of the position of guest lecturer. “We appreciate his gesture,” Bhatt said.

The varsity, according to Bhatt, will accept Ganguly’s resignation but a final decision will be taken in the university’s executive council meeting. “The resignation letter will be placed at the meeting of the executive council, our highest policy-making body. The meeting will be held in January-end,” Bhatt said.

Ganguly is also an ex-officio member of the NUJS general council. He is the member of the general council by virtue of his position as the chairman of the West Bengal Human Rights Commission. He will lose his position as the member of the NUJS general council if he quits the rights panel.

Bhatt said Ganguly’s letter had no reference to quitting from the general council.

Ganguly will no longer be associated with the law school’s academic activities after his resignation from the honorary lecturer post. But a senior NUJS official said Ganguly’s association with the university’s functioning would remain as usual as he would continue to be a member of the general council till he remained the rights panel chief. “Ganguly is very much into the university system as long as he holds a chair in the general council,” said the source.

The general council meeting is held once a year but all members are kept informed about major decisions through the year, the source said. Ganguly wrote in the resignation letter. “I strongly deny the allegations of sexual harassment made by her against me.”

Ganguly, in his resignation letter, has also denied having said that the intern had been made a political pawn. “I have never said that the female intern who made some allegation against me is a pawn in the political game. I have no ill feeling towards her and wish her well in life,” he said in the letter.

In a blog posted on the official website of the Journal of Indian Law and Society, 12 teachers of NUJS had said they were appalled at the statement attributed to Ganguly that the law intern was a political pawn.

The teachers had also demanded “immediate steps” by the NUJS authorities to “dissociate itself” from Ganguly and they would stand by the intern.