New Delhi: Justice Soumitra Sen, who was impeached by Rajya Sabha for misappropriation of money, remained combative, saying that politicians used him as a pawn in their “power game” with the judiciary.
In an interview with a newspaper, Justice Sen termed the “so-called rare political unity” displayed in Rajya Sabha for his impeachment as “sheer opportunism”.
The Rajya Sabha on Thursday passed an impeachment motion against the Calcutta High Court judge. In a rare political consensus, as many as 189 members voted in favour of the motion and 17 voted against it.
Justice Sen questioned the very procedure adopted by Rajya Sabha to impeach him and said it lacks the principles of natural justice. “I was not given a chance to respond to the allegations levelled against me,” he said.
“First, I was given a limited time of 90 minutes, which was extended by barely 15 minutes following requests from some MPs. Then, the movers of the motion were given a free run to paint me corrupt without allowing me an opportunity to rebut the allegations,” he added.
With the Rajya Sabha giving its nod for removal of Justice Sen, the impeachment motion will now be taken up by the Lok Sabha next week with the Lower House expected to deliberate on it on August 24-25.
But, Justice Sen said, he could only appear before the Lok Sabha after August 30, since his son has to undergo an emergency surgery next week. The current session of Parliament ends on September 8.
“In case the Lok Sabha is also in a hurry like the Rajya Sabha was, let them proceed in my absence to hang me,” he said.
Interestingly, Justice Sen slammed the government for its reluctance to bring judiciary in the ambit of Lokpal.
“Look at the hypocrisy. The govt and opposition can unite to slam the (judicial) appointments procedure. But, the govt opposes the inclusion of the judiciary under the Lokpal’s ambit,” Justice Sen said.
The case in which Sen was held guilty dates back to 1983 relating to a dispute between SAIL and Shipping Corporation.
Sen was appointed receiver by the Calcutta High Court when he was a lawyer. The charges included that he diverted some money from the receiver`s account to his personal investment in a private company, which went bust.
Even after his elevation as a Judge in 2003, he did not disclose the full details to the court.
Although in his defence, he said that the money was paid back to the workers, the Judges Inquiry Committees as also several members in the Rajya Sabha, including noted lawyers, said it does not exonerate him of his guilt.