58 MPs move motion for scam-tainted judge’s removal

February 20th, 2009 - 5:54 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Feb 20 (IANS) Fifty-eight Rajya Sabha members Friday moved a motion for the impeachment of Calcutta High Court judge Soumitra Sen whose removal Chief Justice of India K.G. Balakrishna has sought on corruption charges.
The motion, addressed to Rajya Sabha Chairman Hamid Ansari says:

“This house resolves to pass the motion for the impeachment of Justice Soumitra Sen of the Calcutta High Court on the following two grounds of misconduct:

1. Misappropriation of large sums of money which he received in his capacity as receiver appointed by the High court of Calcutta.

2. Misrepresented facts with regard to the misappropriation of money before the High Court of Calcutta.”

A copy of the letter written by Balakrishna to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh recommending Sen’s impeachment was attached to the motion.

In the letter, written Aug 4, 2008, the chief justice noted that a single judge of the Calcutta High Court had levelled charges of wrongdoing against Sen.

“On 10th September, 2007, I had asked Justice Soumitra Sen to furnish his fresh and final response to the judicial observations made against him. After seeking more time for this purpose, he furnished his response on 28th September, 2007, requesting that he may be allowed to resume his duties in view of the order of the Division Bench of Calcutta High Court,” Balakrishna wrote.

“Since I felt that a deeper probe was required to be made into the allegations made against Justice Soumitra Sen,” Balakrishna said he had constituted a three-member committee of high court judges to take a final view on the matter.

The committee had upheld the findings of the single judge of the Calcutta High Court, Balakrishna said in his letter.

An official said Ansari would first get the motion examined before taking further action.

“There is a procedure to be followed in such cases. The chairman will first get the motion examined before deciding on the further course of action,” the official explained.

Should the motion be admitted, it will be only the second time in parliament’s 57-year history that a serving judge will face impeachment proceedings.

The first time was in 1991 when an impeachment motion was moved in the Lok Sabha against Supreme Court judge V. Ramaswami for irregularities in the purchase of furniture.

The motion, however, fell through in 1993 when the Congress party of then prime minister P.V. Narasimha Rao abstained from voting.

An impeachment motion has to be passed by a two-thirds majority of members present and voting.

It has to be moved by a minimum of 100 Lok Sabha members or 50 Rajya Sabha members.

Prominent among those who have moved the impeachment motion are Communist Party of India-Marxist politburo members Sitaram Yechury and Brinda Karat, Communist Party of India national secretary D. Raja, Bharatiya Janata Party general secretary Arun Jaitley, Janata Dal-United president Sharad Yadav, Nationalist Congress Party general secretary Tariq Anwar and nominated member Bimal Jalan, a former Reserve Bank of India governor.

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