Asok Kumar Ganguly

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Hon'ble Justice

Asok Kumar Ganguly
Asok Kumar Ganguly - Kolkata 2015-03-21 6970.JPG
Justice Asok Kumar Ganguly
Judge, Supreme Court of India
In office
17 December 2008 – 3 February 2012
Appointed byPresident of India
Chief Justice, Orissa High Court
In office
2 March 2007 – 18 May 2008
Preceded byJustice Sujit Barman Roy
Succeeded byJustice Balbir Singh Chauhan
Chief Justice, Madras High Court
In office
19 May 2008 – December 2008
Preceded byJustice Ajit Prakash Shah
Succeeded byJustice Hemant Laxman Gokhale
Personal details
Born3 February 1947
NationalityIndian
Spouse(s)Mrs. Roma Ganguly
Alma materUniversity of Calcutta

Justice Asok Kumar Ganguly is the former Chairman of the West Bengal Human Rights Commission and a former Judge of the Supreme Court of India[1] who delivered judgement in some high-profile cases like the 2G spectrum case.[2]

Early life and education[edit]

Justice Ganguly was born on 3 February 1947.[3] He graduated in M.A (English) from University of Calcutta in 1968 and then passed LLB from the same university in 1970.[3]

Career[edit]

He started his career in 1969 by teaching in the same school of which he was once a student.[3] In 1972, he started practice in Calcutta High Court.[3] On 10 January 1994, he was appointed a permanent judge of Calcutta High Court but within 3 months was transferred to Patna High Court.[3] After remaining in Patna High Court for more than 6 years, he was transferred back to Calcutta High Court on 1 August 2000. There he subsequently became senior most puisne Judge in March 2005.[3] He functioned twice as "Acting Chief Justice of Calcutta High Court". Later he was transferred to Orissa High Court where he joined as the senior most puisne Judge on 21 April 2006.[3] On 2 March 2007 he took oath as Chief Justice of Orissa.[3] He joined Madras High Court as Chief Justice on 19 May 2008. Later he was transferred to Supreme Court of India where he joined on 17 December 2008 and remained in the apex court for more than 3 years. He retired on 3 February 2012.[3] Post his retirement, justice Ganguly worked as guest faculty at National University of Juridical Sciences, Kolkata. He also went on to be the Chairperson of the West Bengal Human Rights commission, where his role was highly appreciated.[4]

Notable judgements[edit]

  • 2G spectrum case – On 2 February 2012 the bench of Justice AK Ganguly & Justice GS Singhvi quashed 122 2G licenses issued in the year 2008 by A. Raja, then "Union Telecom Minister".[1]
  • The Emergency (India) – In a judgement, Justice AK Ganguly observed that in 1975 during the emergency period of India, Supreme Court of India had violated the fundamental rights of the Indian citizens. In the ADM Jabalpur vs Shivakant Shukla case (1976). A bench of Justices Aftab Alam and Ganguly took the view that the majority decision of a five-member Constitution Bench upholding the suspension of fundamental rights during "Emergency" was erroneous.[2]
  • President's power of pardon – The President of India can grant a pardon to or reduce the sentence of a convicted person for one time, particularly in cases involving punishment of death but in a judgement delivered by Justice Ganguly said that the president or the governor exercising the power of pardon in granting remission of sentence to a convict could not encroach into the judicial domain and give a finding on the guilt of the convict. If such a power was exercised arbitrarily, mala fide or in absolute disregard of the finer canons of the constitutionalism, the by-product order could not get the approval of law and in such cases, the judicial hand must be stretched to it.[2]
  • Imposed Rs. 1 million fine on Maharashtra state govt. – In a judgement delivered on 14 December 2010 by Justice Ganguly, as a Supreme Court Judge, he imposed Rs. 1 million fine on Maharashtra state govt. on a complaint that the then chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh influenced police against registering an FIR against MLA Dilip Kumar Sananda. The court said that "The (former) chief minister should not have interfered with the criminal justice system." Observing that the message conveyed in this case is "extremely shocking", the court directed that the fine amount collected should be used for the welfare of the distressed farmers.[5] It was alleged that then Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh's personal secretary Amba Das had called up the then district superintendent of police (SP) to inform that the chief minister did not want any FIR to be registered in the case. Accordingly, the SP asked his subordinates not to register any FIR but reportedly recorded the same in its file. Aggrieved by the refusal of the police to register an FIR, the victims approached the Bombay High Court which, apart from ordering registration of an FIR, also imposed a fine of Rs 25,000 on the state. But the state govt challenged Bombay High Court's verdict in Supreme Court of India.[6]
  • In a judgement on 6 July 2011, the bench of Justice Ganguly along with Justice GS Singhvi ordered that entire 156 hectares of land be given back to the robbed farmers. The government had acquired the land for "development" but was handed over to builders for making commercial and residential complexes. The bench imposed a fine of 1 million (US$14,000) Greater Noida Industrial Development Authority (GNIDA) for its illegal act.[7][8]

Controversies[edit]

A woman intern had alleged a recently retired Supreme Court judge had sexually harassed her.[9] The Supreme Court, then appointed a three-member committee to probe the allegations and identified A K Ganguly was the one who harassed her.[10] He repeatedly denied all charges. He was indicted on 6 December 2013 by the committee, which agreed with the intern's allegation that he had subjected her to "unwelcome sexual behaviour" in December 2012.[11] He resigned from the West Bengal Human Rights Commission on 6 January 2014 after the Union Cabinet decided to make a Presidential Reference on 2 January 2014 to the Supreme Court for his removal.[12]

He was acquitted of all charges after the intern refused to record her statement before the police.[13]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Justice Ganguly retires after remarkable ruling on 2G". Daily Bhaskar.
  2. ^ a b c "Justice Ganguly, noted for frank and forthright views, retires". The Hindu.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Hon'ble Mr. Justice Asok Kumar Ganguly". Supreme Court of India.
  4. ^ "Justice Ganguly did a commendable Job as WBHRC Chairperson". IANS. Biharprabha News. Retrieved 23 January 2014.
  5. ^ "SC castigates Deshmukh for shielding MLA in criminal case". Times of India.
  6. ^ "SC imposes Rs 10 lakh fine on Maharashtra govt for shielding Deshmukh's brother". Times of India.
  7. ^ "Greater Noida farmers get their 'robbed' land back, GNIDA Supreme Court rap". DNA (Daily News & Analysis). 6 July 2011. Retrieved 15 October 2012.
  8. ^ "Noida flat buyers must get refund with interest: SC". Indian Express. 13 July 2011. Retrieved 15 October 2012.
  9. ^ "Intern deposes before panel probing sexual harassment charge". Times of India. 18 November 2013. Retrieved 8 January 2014.
  10. ^ "SC Panel names judge accused of sexual harassment". Times of India. 29 November 2013. Retrieved 29 November 2013.
  11. ^ "Justice Ganguly showed 'unwelcome' sexual behaviour towards law graduate: SC panel". Times of India. 6 December 2013. Retrieved 6 December 2013.
  12. ^ "Ganguly yields to pressure, quits". The Hindu. 7 January 2014. Retrieved 8 December 2013.
  13. ^ "Home Ministry gives clean chit to former Supreme Court Judge A K Ganguly in sexual assault case". India.com.