Kolkata, Sept 08: The Centre on Monday approved the impeachment of Calcutta High Court Justice Soumitra Sen on charges of “misconduct” prior to his elevation to HC in 2003.
Confirming this, Union Law & Justice Minister Hansraj Bhardwaj said that government will approach Parliament for impeachment of Soumitra Sen.
The development takes place nearly one month after CJI KG Balakrishnan sought the urgent intervention of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in initiating impeachment process against Justice Sen on the established charges of misconduct.
This is the second time in the history of India`s higher judiciary that the CJI has made recommendations for the removal of a High Court judge, paving way for his impeachment.
According to reports, the CJI had urged the PM to initiate impeachment process against Justice Sen in view of allegations that he had appropriated Rs 32 lakh as a court-appointed receiver in 1993 in a lawsuit between SAIL and Shipping Corporation of India over supply of fire bricks.
Justice Balakrishnan’s recommendation was made shortly after a three-judge inquiry committee had established Sen`s misconduct in depositing the money in his personal account, despite being aware that the proceeds had to be kept in a bank of his choice for safe custody.
Justice Sen chose to retain the money even after being elevated to the High Court in 2003, and parted with it only after the HC ordered him in April 2006 to pay it back.
The PMO last month forwarded the letter to Ministry of Law & Justice for "appropriate action".
The first impeachment process initiated against a judge under this Act was against Supreme Court Justice V Ramaswami in 1991 for misconduct in furniture purchases when he was the Chief Justice of Haryana HC.