For first time, RS to seek impeachment of judge

Last Updated: Sunday, August 14, 2011 - 12:55

New Delhi: Rajya Sabha will make history
this week when it will seek to impeach Justice Soumitra Sen of
the Calcutta High Court, who has been held guilty on
corruption charges by a specially constituted committee.



He will be the second judge in the country`s history
against whom impeachment proceedings will be initiated when
Rajya Sabha takes up a motion on August 17.

The Upper House will be converted into a court for its
first impeachment proceedings against a judge.



The controversial judge of the Calcutta High Court or his
representative will appear before the bar that will be raised
at the entrance of the House facing the Chair.



53-year-old Justice Sen, who has been held guilty on
corruption charges by a panel appointed by Rajya Sabha
Chairman Hamid Ansari, will be given 90 minutes to present his
case.



Under the constitution, a judge of a High Court or the
Supreme Court can be removed by the President by a motion
adopted in both the Houses of Parliament by two-thirds
majority in the same session on "proved misconduct and
incapacity".

The first such case involved impeachment of Justice V
Ramaswami of the Supreme Court in May 1993 which fell in Lok
Sabha for lack of numbers.



Union Minister Kapil Sibal, who at that time was a
senior advocate, had appeared for Justice Ramaswamy before the
bar of the Lok Sabha. The Congress party, which headed the
government then, decided to oppose the motion and voted
against it.



After Mukherjee presents his case, Rajya Sabha will
deliberate on the matter which could also trigger a debate on
the issue of judicial activism and overreach. The proceedings
are expected to spill over to August 18.



Before the Monsoon Session began, there have been demands
from several members and parties for a debate on the issue of
judicial activism in the session that concludes on September 8
and the impeachment proceedings will provide an occasion for
them.



CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury will set the ball rolling
in the House by moving the impeachment motion against the
judge.



The motion`s text reads: "This House do consider the
report of Inquiry Committee in regard to the investigation and
proof of the misbehaviour alleged against Soumitra Sen, High
Court of Calcutta, which was laid on the table of the House on
November 10, 2010".



The motion seeking the removal of Justice Sen was
admitted by Ansari on February 15, but no date for the
discussion had been fixed.



Justice P D Dinakaran, Chief Justice of the Sikkim High
Court, against whom the Rajya Sabha chairman had set up a
judicial panel to inquire into allegations of corruption,
resigned on July 29.



If Justice Sen resigns before the Rajya Sabha takes up
the impeachment proceedings, the motion will become
infructuous.



Decks were cleared in November last year for
impeachment proceedings against Justice Sen with a judicial
committee set up by Ansari finding him guilty of
misappropriating "large sums" of funds and making false
statement regarding it.



In this case, the impeachment motion was not taken up
so far by the Rajya Sabha as the Act makes it clear that it
must be passed by both Houses during the same session.



PTI



First Published: Sunday, August 14, 2011 - 12:54

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