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Justice Sen questions authority of RS committee

Justice Soumitra Sen of the Calcutta High Court, who is facing an impeachment motion for alleged financial irregularities, today questioned the authority of a Rajya Sabha committee to conduct a probe against him.



New Delhi: Justice Soumitra Sen of the
Calcutta High Court, who is facing an impeachment motion for
alleged financial irregularities, today questioned the
authority of a Rajya Sabha committee to conduct a probe
against him.

"There is a constitutional bar and no one can go
through the records of the High Court on this issue," he said.

Admitting that there was intermingling of personal and
official funds by the judge, senior advocate Shekhar Nafde,
appearing for Justice Sen, said that it does not mean that
there was misappropriation of funds.

Advancing final arguments before the committee,
comprising Supreme Court judge B Sudershan Reddy, Chief
Justice of Punjab and Haryana High Court Mukul Mudgal and
noted jurist Fali S Nariman, he said that at most the judge
can be accused of irregularity and not of misappropriation of
funds.

The findings of the committee, which had started its
inquiry proceedings on the advice of the then Chief Justice K
G Balakrishan, would decide the fate of the proposed
impeachment motion against Justice Sen in the Rajya Sabha.

The hearing will continue tomorrow.

Senior Advocate Siddharth Luthra, who is assisting the
inquiry committee, which was set up by Rajya Sabha Chairman
Hamid Ansari, had yesterday read out various entries of bank
accounts held by Justice Sen in his personal and professional
capacity as the court-appointed receiver and highlighted the
alleged discrepancies.

"Justice Sen, before being appointed as the Judge, has
misappropriated the funds to the tune of Rs 33.22 lakhs as a
court-appointed receiver," he told the committee.

Justice Sen, who was appointed as the judge of the
High Court on December 3, 2003, is accused of misconduct.

A single judge bench of the Calcutta High Court, in
its order, held that Justice Sen had "misappropriated" the
funds.

Consequently, Justice Sen, in 2006, deposited Rs 57.65
lakh, the amount allegedly received by him as the receiver.

Fifty-eight members of the Rajya Sabha had moved a
motion in February 2009 to impeach Justice Sen on the basis of a letter written by the then CJI to Prime Minister Manmohan
Singh recommending the judge`s removal.

Following an in-house inquiry, the then CJI had asked
him to resign. Justice Sen refused to step down.

PTI

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