Why not take suo motu cognizance or recommend FIR rather than hiding behind technicalities?
The three-member panel set up by the Supreme Court to look into the sexual harassment case alleged by a law graduate on Thursday ruled that “an act of unwelcome behaviour” had been carried out by former SC judge AK Ganguly “of a sexual nature”. However, the probe panel decided that “no further follow-up action is required” despite the “prima facie evidence”.
The decision came riding on the fact that the law graduate’s internship with Justice Ganguly was a private placement and he had retired by the time the charges against him surfaced.
The verdict is not only surprising but it also sets a bad example in front of the public. The Supreme Court which is supposed to be the pillar of justice is now being called an ‘old boys club’ protecting one of its own.
The country saw streams of protests over Delhi gangrape and other sexual harassment cases which lead to the strengthening of crime against women laws. It is intriguing indeed that those criminals are facing the heat while Justice Ganguly has attracted “no further action”.
The years of judicial activism and judicial overreach that SC practised teaches us that when evidence is in front of you and you still don’t put culprit behind bars or do not order enquiry you either are a part of corruption or you are taking side of the criminal.
The case comes under Section 354 of IPC and is a congnizable offence. And the police can start an independent enquiry in the case. But the SC panel did not even recommend filing an FIR in the case.
Wasn’t SC itself empowered to take cognizance of the case? Given that the Supreme Court itself has been so active in taking suo motu cognisance of cases that have impacted public opinion, the fact that it has done little more than add to Justice Ganguly’s discomfiture is disappointing.
Why hiding behind technicalities? All these years of judicial activism and alleged judicial overreach is being held back to save a former colleague from indictment?
This was an opportunity for the Supreme Court to show just how seriously it was committed to fighting sexual harassment, especially when it happens in its own backyard.
The legal limitations under which the panel worked is not questionable for they arrived at a result. But the fact that the decision making was limited on purpose makes SC a bad example.