Tainted judge Soumitra Sen resigns



Tainted judge Soumitra Sen resigns

Zeenews Bureau

New Delhi: In a major development, beleaguered Calcutta High Court Judge Soumitra Sen, who is facing impeachment proceedings in Parliament over charges of misappropriation of public funds, resigned from his post on Thursday. He sent his resignation to President Pratibha Patil.

The resignation of Justice Sen comes just days ahead of his impeachment motion to be taken up in the Lok Sabha. He was to face the lower house of Parliament on September 05 and 06.

In his letter to the President, Justice Sen said, "I am not guilty of any form of corruption".

"There is no allegation against me that I am guilty of passing any order or judgement for extraneous consideration or that I have abused my power in any way so that my family or relatives or acquaintances have amassed wealth, but sadly I am still facing a motion of impeachment," he said.

The judge said in the anxiety to take definitive action against corruption, even a judgement passed by a division bench of the High Court was being completely brushed aside with the remark that the judges had favoured him.

Justice Sen who dismissed the charges against him said, "I do not come from a family of judges or politicians". The judge said he had given up a fairly lucrative practice not to amass wealth by resorting to corruption but to serve the august institution being the judiciary and consequently the nation.

Justice Sen, in a separate letter to Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar, said, "I wonder whether my issue is the real issue of corruption and abuse of power by people in high places or I am being made a sacrificial lamb in the alter of justice as a showcase to tell the nation that at least something has been done to clean the institution from corruption".

The judge admitted that he may have made "mistakes" as a junior advocate 19 years back but went on to ask, "who is above making mistakes, no human being is infallible, but to accuse me of dishonest intention as a judge or otherwise i firmly repudiate".

Justice Sen said like in the Rajya Sabha, he will not get a chance to respond to submissions made by members in the Lok Sabha in his absence and hence "it appears to be a foregone conclusion".

Along with the letter Justice Sen gave a point by point rebuttal to three allegations against him made during the Rajya Sabha debate.

"I have decided not to go to the Lok Sabha and instead put in my papers," Sen, who was to have appeared before the Lok Sabha on September 5, said.

Justice Soumitra is the first judge in the history of the country to be impeached by the Upper House.

The Rajya Sabha had passed the motion on August 18.

After a seven-hour long process marked by a brainstorming debate on August 18, the Rajya Sabha had overwhelmingly approved the impeachment motion against Justice Sen.

189 members of the 206 present in the 245-member House voted in favour, recording well over 2/3rd majority required for such a move.

As per reports, this move by the judge was taken in order to have a somewhat honourable exit rather than face the ignominy of being removed.

Justice Sen has been indicted for misappropriation of public funds amounting to Rs 33.23 lakh in a 1983 case, which he got as a court appointed receiver in a dispute between two public sector undertakings.

With PTI inputs