Parliament impasse: Sen impeachment on backburner

Last Updated: Sunday, December 5, 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.

PTI



First Published: Sunday, December 5, 2010 - 10:22

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