Parliament impasse: Sen impeachment on backburner
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Last Updated: Sunday, December 05, 2010, 10:22
New Delhi: The stalemate in Parliament has put the process of impeachment of Justice Soumitra Sen on the backburner, at least for the time being.

Even if some immediate rapprochement is arrived at between the government and the opposition over the issue of JPC on the 2G spectrum scam, the impeachment issue cannot be taken up in this session which is concluding on December 13.

With barely a week left for the Winter Session to conclude without transacting any substantive business, the process of impeachment of Sen is now likely to begin only in the Budget Session.

This was because as per the rules, both Houses needed to dispose of the impeachment issue in the same session after the proceedings are initiated.

A three-member committee, set up by Rajya Sabha Chairman Hamid Ansari, had last month found Justice Sen guilty of misappropriating large sums of public funds, making false statements and misrepresenting facts.

The Rajya Sabha Secretariat had earlier sent him a copy of the Inquiry Committee report and asked for his response by December 9.

The committee was constituted by Ansari under the Judges (Inquiry) Act, 1968 following an impeachment motion against Sen moved by CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury and 57 other members of the Upper House.

The committee, headed by Supreme Court Judge B Sudershan Reddy, said the charges of "misappropriation of large sums of money" which Sen received in his capacity as a receiver appointed by the Calcutta High Court and misrepresenting facts with regard to it were "duly proved".

The committee, which also included former Punjab and Haryana High Court Chief Justice Mukul Mudgal and eminent lawyer Fali S Nariman, found Sen guilty of collecting over Rs 33 lakh from a purchaser of goods, keeping it in a savings bank account and misrepresenting facts to the High Court.

Sen could go down in history as the first judge to be impeached if the proceedings against him go through with majority support in Parliament.

As per the Judges Inquiry Act, the impeachment 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.

The judge or his counsel could speak immediately after the mover has moved the motion. Thereafter, he would withdraw himself from the House.

The first-ever impeachment initiated against a judge Bureau Report V Ramaswami who retired as a Supreme Court judge in 1994 -- failed after the motion collapsed on the floor of the Lok Sabha in 1993 following abstentions by Congress.


First Published: Sunday, December 05, 2010, 10:22

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