New Delhi: Congress today gave signals that
it could support the impeachment proceedings against Calcutta
High Court judge Soumitra Sen noting it is for highest probity
and integrity in public life.
"Let me study the details of the report. I have not
studied it so far. But let me categorically say that whether
it be the legislature, executive or judiciary, we would
certainly like to see that the highest degree of probity and
integrity is maintained," party spokesperson Jayanthi
Natarajnan told reporters at the AICC briefing.
Her reaction came in response to questions about the
party`s stand on Sen`s impeachment after a judicial committee
set up by Rajya Sabha Chairman Hamid Ansari found him guilty
of misappropriating "large sums" of funds and making false
statement regarding it.
She also sought to make a difference between the case
of Sen and that of justice V Ramaswami.
The first-ever impeachment initiated against a judge -- V
Ramaswami who retired as an SC judge in 1994 -- failed after
the motion collapsed on the floor of the Lok Sabha in 1993
following abstentions by the Congress.
The impeachment process had catapulted noted lawyer Kapil
Sibal, now a Union Minister, to national limelight for his
spirited defence of the judge.
"I do not understand the comparison between Justice
Ramaswami case and that of Justice Soumitra Sen....we should
not compare these two issues," Natarjan said when reminded of
Congress` role in Ramaswami case.
Sources in the party also said that the two cases need to
be seen on different lines thereby indicating that the party
could actually support impeachment of Sen.
The indictment of Sen by the judicial committee paves way
for Parliament to take up the impeachment of the judge who has
been found guilty of collecting Rs.33,22,800 from a purchaser
of goods, keeping it in a savings bank account and
misrepresenting facts to the High Court.
As per the Judges Inquiry Act, the motion will now have to
be moved in the Rajya Sabha and debated upon. Sen will be
given an opportunity to defend himself through his counsel.