Former Lok Sabha speaker Somnath Chatterjee today said that Justice A K Ganguly, accused of sexually harassing a law intern, had to resign as chief of the WBHRC 'without proof or investigation'.
"He had to resign without any proof or investigation in the case," Chatterjee said, adding that he was hurt by the developments leading to Justice Ganguly stepping down from the post of chairman of West Bengal Human Rights Commission.
Chatterjee said "In our legal system till the time a person is proved to be guilty he is held innocent, but in this case he was not given proper hearing.
Stating that the rulebook was not followed in the case, he said "The Supreme Court's investigation was unconstitutional and they have themselves admitted that they had no authority to do anything."
"He was a Supreme Court judge and no one had doubt on him," Chatterjee said.
The ruling Trinamool Congress, however, welcomed, the former judge's resignation.
Trinamool Congress MP and lawyer Kalyan Banerjee said by resigning Justice Ganguly had saved his prestige from being damaged further.
"We are happy with the decision. He should have done this earlier, but nevertheless we welcome it as he had no moral right to continue in the post after the allegations," the MP said.
Eminent lawyer Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharya, however, described the resignation as unfortunate saying the core issue of sexual harassment was sidelined.
"He was under tremendous pressure to resign and now the focus has shifted away from the incident. Whatever is the truth should be investigated," he said. Claiming that the resignation was a moral victory, Joydeep Mukherjee, secretary of the All India Legal Aid Forum, said "But our battle is far from over. We have always demanded that he should be arrested and an FIR be lodged in the case as the Supreme Court committee has already found him guilty.
"The Delhi Police should now register a suo moto FIR and arrest him immediately," he said.
Rights activist Sujato Bhadra said Ganguly should have put in his papers much earlier.
General Secretary of the West Bengal Trinamool Congress Mohua Mitra said "This unfortunate chapter is now closed. We look forward to the dignity of the office of WBHRC being restored at the earliest."
Earlier West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had twice written to President Pranab Mukherjee seeking action against the former judge after which a Presidential reference was approved by the union cabinet recently.