New Delhi: Excerpts of an affidavit by a law intern, who has accused former Supreme Court judge AK Ganguly of sexual harassment, have been made public in an unusual step by additional solicitor general Indira Jaising, sparking off fresh demands for his resignation as chairman of the West Bengal Human Rights Commission (WBHRC).
In her affidavit to a three-judge panel set up by Chief Justice of India P Sathasivam to go into her allegation that Justice Ganguly had sexually harassed her in a hotel room on December 24 last year, the intern has desribed in detail his alleged behaviour when she had gone to assist him in his work.
Justice Ganguly has strongly denied the allegations and refused to step down as WBHRC chief.
Jaising said on Monday that she had made the excerpts public with the "full support" of the intern and If Justice Ganguly refused to resign, then the process should be initiated for his removal by the President of India. She has written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in this regard.
The ASG said she would like to state "very unambiguously that whatever I am doing, I am doing with her (intern's) complete cooperation and keeping her in the loop and I would never ever make a document like this public unless I had her full support".
She was responding to a question whether she should have gone public with the excerpts when the intern herself has chosen not to do so and neither has she filed a police complaint in this regard.
The intern had given her statement to the apex court panel besides giving to it affidavits of witnesses to whom she had spoken immediately after the incident.
The panel had video-recorded Justice Ganguly's statement in which he denied the allegation of any sexual harassment.
However, the panel had indicted him by holding that the statement of the intern, both written and oral, had prima facie disclosed "an act of unwelcome behaviour (unwelcome verbal/non-verbal conduct of sexual nature)" by Justice Ganguly with her in the Le Meridien hotel room approximately between 8pm and 10.30pm.
In her affidavit, the intern stated that the judge had called her to the hotel room on Christmas eve to complete a report relating to the All India Football Federation.
"The judge informed me that the AIFF report had to be submitted the next morning and asked me to stay at the hotel and work all night. I declined and told him that I had to finish the work quickly and return to the PG accommodation," Jaising quoted from the intern's statement.
At one stage, the judge took out a bottle of red wine. "He also said that since I had had a long day, I should go into his bed room and relax while drinking some wine", the intern said.
The intern said she felt uneasy, unsettled and disturbed by the judge's suggestion.
"You are very beautiful," the judge told her. "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 am attracted to you, don't you? ... but I really like you, I love you. When I tried to move away, he kissed my arm and repeated that he loved me," the intern said.
As pressure mounted on Justice Ganguly to resign, law minister Kapil Sibal said he was waiting to see when the apex court "rises to the occasion" to deal with the issue.
"Waiting to see when and how the Supreme Court rises to the occasion to deal with Justice Ganguly," Sibal tweeted.
His remarks on the microblogging site came days after he questioned the decision of the Supreme Court of not taking further action against Justice Ganguly just because he has retired, saying the issue cannot be "brushed under the carpet".
The allegation against Justice Ganguly was raised in Parliament on Friday with the BJP and the Trinamool Congress demanding his removal as chairman of West Bengal rights panel, saying on ethical grounds he should have resigned by now.
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.
Samajwadi Party leader Naresh Agarwal said law must be equal for all. "Why cannot a case be filed against the judge? If cases can be filed against politicians and journalists, why not Justice ganguly ? he asked.
CPI leader D Raja stressed that Justice Ganguly should quit from his constitutional position.
"It is better to uphold the judicial prudence and the value in public life. Mr Ganguly has to go," he said.