India

India sex case: Pressure mounts on ex-judge AK Ganguly

AK Ganguly
Image caption The student who made the allegations described Mr Ganguly (pictured) as 'old enough to be my grandfather'

Pressure is mounting on a retired Indian Supreme Court judge accused of sexual misconduct to quit his position as head of a human rights panel.

On Monday a newspaper published a deposition made to the court by a law intern who says she was sexually assaulted by judge AK Ganguly.

A Supreme Court panel investigating the case decided to take no action against the judge because he had retired.

Mr Ganguly has strongly denied the allegations of sexual assault.

On Monday, the Indian Express newspaper made public the law intern's deposition before the court-appointed panel, in a bylined article by India's additional solicitor general, Indira Jaising.

In it the law graduate describes how the former judge allegedly sexually assaulted her in a Delhi hotel room.

Earlier this month, the panel concluded that there was "prima facie evidence" of "unwelcome behaviour" against the intern by Mr Ganguly, who is the chairman of the Human Rights Commission in the state of West Bengal.

Judge 'disappointed'

She alleged that Mr Ganguly had offered his bedroom to "drink some wine and relax" and when she "tried to move away, he kissed my arm, repeated he loved me [and] asked me to share room".

Federal Law Minister Kapil Sibal of the governing Congress party tweeted that he was "waiting to see when and how the Supreme Court rises to the occasion to deal with Justice Ganguly".

""I am a little disappointed because the institution which has found that sexual overtures were made, was to have taken the matter forward," he told reporters.

Arun Jaitley, a senior leader of the main opposition BJP, tweeted that Mr Ganguly "should quit to protect the dignity of his office".

"A higher than normal judicial scrutiny must apply to an ex-judge," he said.

Women's groups have also demanded the resignation of Mr Ganguly after Monday's revelations.

"Those heading public institutions must adhere to the highest standards of personal conduct and integrity in order to uphold the credibility and effectiveness of these institutions," a group of activists said in a statement.

The graduate, Stella James, posted a blog last month describing how the former judge allegedly sexually assaulted her in a Delhi hotel room.

She said the alleged assault happened last December when she was working as an intern.

Correspondents say that the charges levelled by the young lawyer against the judge shocked India, particularly as the incident reportedly took place at a time when the country was witnessing huge protests over the fatal gang rape of a student in Delhi.

Mr Ganguly told the Press Trust of India news agency that he was surprised that the intern's affidavit had been made public.

"That is supposed to be confidential as it was given before a Supreme Court committee. How can it come out in the open?" he said.

"What can I do? Who is listening to me?"

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