RS to resemble court for impeachment proceedings
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Last Updated: Monday, August 15, 2011, 16:50
New Delhi: For two days, Rajya Sabha will resemble a court with its members acting as a jury examining a High Court judge for his alleged misconduct.

Impeachment proceedings against Justice Soumitra Sen of the Calcutta High Court will commence on August 17.

A 'bar' will be "posted" at the gate of the central aisle of the upper house facing the Chairman. A rostrum and a chair will be placed for Justice Sen or his counsel to present his case before the MPs.

The bar is an indicator to show that a non-member or an "outsider" cannot enter the House when it is meeting.

Whenever any House has to admonish or censure any official, he or she is called to the bar of the House.

During the debate and subsequent voting, any minister who is not a member of the Rajya Sabha, will not be allowed to participate in the discussion or vote.

Law Minister Salman Khurshid, a Lok Sabha member, "could be" the only exception and may speak during the proceedings. On Wednesday, the members of the Rajya Sabha are not likely to speak on the impeachment motion. Only Justice Sen or his counsel will present the case and leave.

The next day, members will debate on the impeachment.

Though the debate is likely to revolve around judiciary on the whole, Parliament sources said UPA and opposition leaders are of the view that members should concentrate on "proved misbehaviour" of Justice Sen.

The judge has been held guilty on corruption charges by a panel appointed by Rajya Sabha Chairman Hamid Ansari.

Article 124 (4) of the Constitution when read with proviso (b) to Article 217(1) states that a judge of a High Court shall not be removed from his office except on the grounds of 'proved misbehaviour'.

A sitting judge of the Supreme Court or a High Court can only be removed through impeachment by both Houses of Parliament with a two-thirds majority of MPs present and voting in favour of the motion, according to the Judges Inquiry Act, 1968.

The motion should also be passed by the Lok Sabha during the ongoing monsoon session, which ends on September 8, and presented to the President.

53-year-old Sen will be the second judge in the country's history against whom impeachment proceedings will be initiated. The first such case involved impeachment of Justice V Ramaswami of the Supreme Court in May 1993 which fell in Lok Sabha for lack of numbers.


First Published: Monday, August 15, 2011, 16:50

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