Former Supreme Court judge AK Ganguly, who bowed to pressure and quit as the Chairman of the West Bengal Human Rights Commission after being indicted for sexual harassment, today said his resignation should not be taken as an admission of guilt.
“It was very difficult for my family members to take it anymore,” he told reporters at his Kolkata home. (read: Justice Ganguly’s resignation letter)
In his most detailed defence since the allegations that he sexually harassed a young lawyer surfaced three months ago, Justice Ganguly questioned, “Can I force a glass of wine on a woman? I can’t do it with my wife of 45 years. Forget wine, I can’t force even tea or coffee on anyone.” (read: Justice Ganguly’s comments to media)
Justice Ganguly was found guilty by a panel of three Supreme Court judges of ‘unwelcome behaviour’ and ‘conduct of a sexual nature’ towards the lawyer who interned for him.
The woman said in her statement to the probe panel that in December 2012, the retired judge had forced her to drink wine with him, kissed her arm, said ‘I love you’ and suggested that she share his hotel room. (read: woman’s affidavit)
Commenting that he felt shattered by the allegations, Justice Ganguly said he “wished the intern well” and would not contest her allegations legally. “I will never file a defamation case against a person who is my student; I’d rather go to jail.”
The 66-year-old former judge’s resignation came amid a move by the cabinet to send a presidential reference to the Supreme Court to forcibly remove him from the post of the Bengal rights panel chief. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had also written to President Pranab Mukherjee twice, seeking his removal.
“She (Mamata Banerjee) never liked my continuance here,” said Justice Ganguly, implying that he was targeted for criticizing the Chief Minister and her Trinamool Congress party.