"I am not (resigning), that's all," was the former Supreme Court (SC) judge's reply when asked by the media if he will step down as the rights panel chief after being indicted of "unwelcome behaviour" by an Apex Court judges' panel probing the sexual harassment allegation against him. Somnath Chatterjee defends AK Ganguly (Agencies)
In another show of defiance against the demand for his removal, Ganguly went on to preside over an event organized by the commission to observe World Human Rights Day.
"I would always request you to remember that those who fight for rights have to pay a price. Those who try to uphold the rights have to fight by paying a price," he said, while addressing the event.
Meanwhile, springing to Ganguly's defence, former Lok Sabha speaker Somnath Chatterjee doubted the authority of the Supreme Court in probing the matter. "I would not say the allegations are mala fide. Its overzealousness (of the probe panel)," Chatterjee told mediapersons on the sidelines of the event.”
"I don't understand under what authority they (probe panel) went for it and forthright decided not to touch any matter, what is the outcome," said Chatterjee about the finding of the three-judge panel which indicted Ganguly of the charges, but did not recommend any action against him.
The probe panel cited retirement of Ganguly as a Supreme Court judge and the victim not being on the roll of the apex court for not recommending any follow-up action.
Chatterjee said the country will punish Ganguly if he is found guilty. "Everybody has his honour and respect. Just because somebody is saying something doesn't mean he will have to sacrifice. If proved guilty, the country will punish him," added Chatterjee.
Meanwhile, the West Bengal National University of Juridical Sciences, of which Ganguly is a general council member and honorary professor, said it has taken a "serious" view of the charge levelled against him by a law intern.
Vice Chancellor P Ishwara Bhat said the university's executive council would decide on the issue. "The executive council has taken the intern case very seriously into account. The intern has so far not filed any specific complaint," he said.
Asked whether justice in the case was not being delayed, Bhat said: "We have certain procedures to follow. He is not coming to university. There is no work at all. He has no work. Following the allegations becoming public, Ganguly was ‘put under suspension’ by the university.”
The Trinamool Congress (TMC) continued its tirade against Ganguly with Rajya Sabha member Derek O'Brien reiterating the party's demand that he should demit office on World Human Rights Day.
"It would be apt if Justice Ganguly chose the UN Human Rights Day to step down and cleanse his office. Sir, please don't mock your office. Violators can't be guardians," O'Brien said on Twitter.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has already written twice to President Pranab Mukherjee seeking urgent action against Ganguly. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) too now has joined the chorus seeking his removal.
Besides NGOs holding demonstrations, a public interest litigation has also been filed before the Calcutta High Court seeking his removal.
Former Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee on Tuesday defended beleaguered West Bengal Human Rights Commission chairman AK Ganguly, indicted by a Supreme Court judges panel in a sexual molestation case.
“I have faith in him... He will decide what has to be done," Chatterjee said when asked if Justice Ganguly, a former Supreme Court judge, should resign as chairman of the WBHRC after indictment by the panel which found that his conduct towards a woman law intern was of "sexual nature".
"Is it that easy? Just because someone alleges?" Chatterjee, a veteran barrister, retorted when asked again on the sidelines of a programme organised by WBHRC on World Human Rights Day, where Justice Ganguly was present as its chairman.
"Everyone has his right and dignity. If he is proved guilty, the country will punish him," Chatterjee said defending Justice Ganguly, whose resignation is being sought from several quarters, including the BJP.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who had chosen Justice Ganguly as the chairman of WBHRC after coming to power in 2011, has written twice to President Pranab Mukherjee seeking strong action against the former judge.
Asked about the three-judge panel's indictment of Justice Ganguly, Chatterjee said, "I don't know under what authority they went into it and then forthwith decided not to touch any such matter."
"Why this exception was made then? I won't say its malafide, I would say its overzealousness," Chatterjee said about the exercise.
The Supreme Court committee of three judges has indicted Justice Ganguly for his "unwelcome behaviour" and "conduct of sexual nature" towards the law intern.
Justice Ganguly has strongly denied the charge.
"I am not (resigning), that's all," was the former Supreme Court (SC) judge's reply when asked by the media if he will step down as the rights panel chief after being indicted of "unwelcome behaviour" by an Apex Court judges' panel probing the sexual harassment allegation against him.
Somnath Chatterjee defends AK Ganguly