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Millennium Post

Ganguly should step down now

It is disappointing that exactly one year after the fatal 16 December gang rape of a young woman that brought India to its knees, forcing the government to pass the anti-rape bill in March this year, the situation hasn’t improved one bit in the prejudice and discrimination-ravaged country. The latest brouhaha over the Additional Solicitor General Indira Jaisingh’s ‘outing’ the victim’s affidavit in the Justice AK Ganguly sexual harassment case is one more example of how the best and the brightest I India are still mired in age-old biases as far as women and sexual minorities are concerned. After ASG Jaisingh frontpaged her rage against the judiciary, particularly the Supreme Court, which has by now duly exposed its deep-seated misogyny by not just upholding the archaic Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, but also in its forming a protective shield around the retired SC judge who has been accused of molesting a law intern, there is outcry on the social and mainstream media over the multilayered prejudices and entrenched discrimination against the other genders. While some section of the media and the political fraternity is busy espousing the number of ‘landmark judgments’, particularly on the 2G scam, that were ruled by the retired SC judge as an alibi for his seeming innocence, Jaisingh has repeatedly pointed out that the two have nothing in common with each other, and an indictment of Ganguly in this case would in no way affect the watershed rulings that were hailed by all and sundry as momentous victories of the activict judiciary over an essentially corrupt and conniving legislature.

Nevertheless, now that the victim’s affidavit is out in the public domain, with her consent, the time has come for all of us to introspect what really has gone wrong. How can we lay our trust in the highest body of justice and the final ethical-moral arbiter which is the Supreme Court of India, if it, time and again, fails to live up to people’s expectations and if its reputation, built over decades of upholding the law of the land equally for every citizen of the country, takes a nosedive? In this light, it becomes a moral duty on the part of AK Ganguly to step down from the board of the West Bengal Human Rights Commission, not because the clamour for him to resign from the board has reached a crescendo, but because he does not hold the moral ground to still occupy that position, given that he is himself an accused in a reprehensible act of sexual misconduct. In fact, because the onus of proving himself innocent falls squarely on Ganguly under the new pumped up anti-rape law, his silence on the matter is not helping any cause whatsoever. Rather, what he should do is accept the ASG’s open challenge to him for a one-to-one debate on the matter, which could settle the matter for good. Those who allege that this is an elaborate conspiracy against the judge who delivered landmark verdicts against the corrupt of the nation, what about the corruption of the mind that doesn’t find a problem with men in position of power blatantly misusing their status to curry sexual favours from the vulnerable. Much like the Tarun Tejpal case, if not like the serial rapist Asaram, or the golden words of Ranjit Sinha, when he equated rape with betting, Ganguly, too, must be brought to book.
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