Justice Sen says impeachment motion has defects

Justice Soumitra Sen of the Calcutta High Court, who has been indicted by a judicial committee, on Friday claimed that the impeachment motion against him has defects and Parliament cannot discuss the role of a receiver.

Last Updated: Dec 10, 2010, 20:35 PM IST

Kolkata/New Delhi: Justice Soumitra Sen
of the Calcutta High Court, who has been indicted by a
judicial committee, on Friday claimed that the impeachment motion
against him has defects and Parliament cannot discuss the role
of a receiver.

"The motion has two defects," Subhas Bhattacharyya,
lawyer for Justice Sen, said on the reply given by the Judge
to Rajya Sabha Chairman Hamid Ansari.
The lawyer cited two defects in the impeachment motion
as `misappropriation of a large sum of money as receiver` and
`misrepresentation`.

Justice Sen was given an opportunity to reply to the
findings of the Inquiry Committee set up by the Rajya Sabha
by December 9 and it was filed in due time, Bhattacharyya
said.

"Parliament cannot discuss the role of the receiver in
an impeachment motion," he said, referring to the time when
the alleged misappropriation took place.

Sen was a practising lawyer in the Calcutta High Court
and a court-appointed receiver in the early-1990`s and became
a judge only on December three, 2003.

Referring to the term `misappropriation of large sums
of money` in the three-member inquiry committee report, he
said "in the absence of any amount being quantified, the
motion is also vague."

According to Bhattacharyya, Justice Sen`s reply stated
that there was `misrepresentation` .

He said "the formation of the in-house committee is
absolutely illegal and there was no complaint against Justice
Sen in the public domain.

"The only complaint in this particular case was the
adverse remarks passed by the trial court, which were later on
deleted and set aside by the division bench," Bhattacharyya
said.

Ansari had set up the three-member committee headed by
Supreme Court Judge B Sudarshan Reddy after 58 MPs moved an
impeachment motion against Sen in March last year under the
Judges Enquiry Act.

The report, which was tabled in the House on November
10, said the charges of "misappropriation of large sums of
money" which Sen received in his capacity as receiver
appointed by the Calcutta High Court and misrepresenting
facts with regard to it were "duly proved".
Sen was given time till yesterday to file his reply.

Rajya Sabha sources said that the Business Advisory
Committee would fix a date for taking up the matter in the
House. Sen will have a chance to defend his case in the House
either personally or through his lawyer.

The committee has found the judge 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.

This is the second case in the history of the country
in which Parliament has initiated proceedings for removal of a
judge. The first involved Justice V Ramaswami.

For the impeachment proceedings to be carried out, the
motion has to be passed by two-thirds majority in both Houses
in the same session in which it is taken up.

With only a day left in the Winter session, the matter
is expected to be taken for consideration in the Budget
session.

PTI