- POSTED: 07 Jan 2014 20:07
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Recent high profile sex scandals in India are likely to test the newly tightened laws in the times to come.
NEW DELHI: A retired Indian Supreme Court judge accused of sexual assault has resigned as Chairman of the West Bengal Human Rights Commission.
The case against A K Ganguly, who's presided over numerous cases involving crimes against women in his career, has gained much media interest with activists calling for action to be taken against him.
At the very same time when many Indians took to the streets to protest against the fatal gang rape of a student in New Delhi in December 2012, Mr Ganguly, a retired judge of the country's top court, had allegedly sexually assaulted his young intern in a five-star hotel in the Indian capital.
The case against Mr Ganguly only came to light in recent weeks after his accuser made it public in a blogpost, which was then carried by a newspaper.
A three-judge panel convened by the Supreme Court later found evidence against the judge, but chose not to take action as Mr Ganguly had already retired from the court.
Even though the victim has not pressed charges, it appears that the public scrutiny against Mr Ganguly is so intense that he has stepped down from his post as chairman of the Human Rights panel in the eastern state of West Bengal.
"I would just say that it's better later than never. He has given his resignation, so the law will take its course,” said Congress spokesperson Meem Afzal.
“We had said earlier… that he should resign but he took his time. But he is a judge himself and I think he understands that the law is above all and by doing so, he has done the right thing."
This is the latest case of a public figure in India becoming embroiled in sex scandals.
A Hindu holy man popularly known as Asaram Bapu was arrested in September for allegedly molesting a sick girl brought to him for treatment.
The prominent editor of a well-regarded investigative journal, Tarun Tejpal, was also arrested on charges of assaulting a colleague during a function in Goa.
Political observers say that such cases should be dealt with more strictly.
"What can be more unfortunate than this that people in authority are being accused of such acts? Such people should themselves step down from their posts,” said Bharatiya Janata Party leader Anurag Thakur.
“And I think that strict actions must be taken against them so that a strong message is sent across… society that no crime against women will be tolerated".
While the outcry following the Delhi gang rape ensured a speedy trial, these cases are likely to test the newly tightened laws in the times to come, especially as they involve high profile accused whose stature may influence their cases in their favour.
It remains to be seen if Indians' new found confidence in the justice system will be sustained.