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Dec 24, 2013 at 11:56am IST

Sexual harassment: Law intern slams AK Ganguly for claiming innocence

New Delhi: The law intern who has accused retired Supreme Court judge AK Ganguly of sexual harassment has issued a fresh statement slamming his letter to the Chief Justice of India P Sathasivam claiming innocence.

The intern said that in order to preserve her dignity and that of the Supreme Court, she authorised Additional Solicitor General Indira Jaising to make her statement public. "As the University did not have a policy against sexual harassment of women students during internship, it was indicated to me that any action would be ineffective. I was also informed that the only route for me was to file a complaint with the police, which I was reluctant to do.

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"Even after the operative portion of the report of the Committee, was made public, many eminent citizens and legal luminaries continued to deride the Committee's findings, and malign me. To preserve my own dignity as well as that of the Supreme Court, I authorised Additional Solicitor General of India Indira Jaising to make my statement public.

"I request that it be acknowledged that I have the discernment to pursue appropriate proceedings at appropriate times. I ask that my autonomy be respected fully."

On making the intern's statement public, Indira Jaising said, "I have authorisation from the intern. She felt voiceless and powerless. She also felt that there were strong interests speaking out in his support. The rest is all for the chief justice to respond."

Trinamool Congress has been demanding Justice Ganguly to resign as the chief of West Bengal Human Rights Commission (WBHRC). TMC leader Saugata Roy said, "The chief minister has written a letter to the President who has in return written to the Law Ministry and the Attorney General."

On Monday, Justice Ganguly had refuted allegations of sexual harassment and said that his side of the story was being denied a fair hearing. Justice Ganguly alleged that he was being targeted for his judgments. In his letter Justice Ganguly protested the leaking of the intern's affidavit to the media. The committee which investigated the allegations had called his behaviour "unwelcome" and of a "sexual nature".

There have been all-round protests across various spectrums demanding resignation of Justice Ganguly as Chairman of WBHRC. Though despite the protests, Justice Ganguly had maintained his stand that he will continue to hold the post of the Chairman.

Earlier, Law minister Kapil Sibal has sought Attorney General GE Vahanvati opinion on the legal procedure to remove Justice Ganguly as the chief of WBHRC. Sibal was also in favour of the President stepping in the Justice Ganguly case.

Sibal had also said that the government may intervene and take an action in the matter if the former Supreme Court judge does not resign from the post of the Chairman of the WBHRC. Stating the provisions according to law, Sibal said, "There is a procedure where government can step in on proved misbehaviour. If he does not resign, we will take a position on it."

The government stepped in after the complainant alleged that Justice Ganguly propositioned her and asked her to stay in his room. "The judge informed me that it may not be possible to have a separate room arranged for me, and asked me if I would stay in the same room with him," the complainant said in a statement.

She also added that despite her opposition, Justice Ganguly tried to get close to her. "During the dinner, the judge put his hand on my back and thanked me for agreeing to help him. I moved away, clearly indicating to the judge that this physical contact was unwelcome and not proper behaviour on his part. However, the judge did not remove his hand from my back, and then moved forward to embrace me. At this point, the judge approached me and, standing next to me, he put his hand on my head, and said, 'You are very beautiful'.

"I immediately rose from my seat, but before I had a chance to respond to the statement, he caught hold of my arm, saying, 'You know that I'm attracted to you, don't you? You must be thinking, what, this old man is getting drunk and saying such things. But I really like you, I love you'. When I tried to move away, he kissed my arm and repeated that he loved me," she said in the statement.