Rajya Sabha resumes impeachment debate

August 18th, 2011 - 6:12 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata Party New Delhi, Aug 18 (IANS) The Rajya Sabha Thursday resumed the discussion on the motion to impeach Calcutta High Court judge Soumitra Sen for misconduct, the first such case to be taken up by the upper house for removal of a sitting judge and only the second in Indian history.

The debate was resumed by Leader of Opposition Arun Jaitley (Bharatiya Janata Party), who affirmed his support for removing the tainted judge, calling it a case of “proven misconduct”.

“I concluded yesterday and am repeating that, I support Mr. Sitaram Yechury’s motion that this is a fit case of proven misconduct where the judge concerned must be removed from the office and the address to the president should be so recommended by the house,” Jaitley said.

“Can we afford to have judges whose conduct is of this manner? The pleas that he raised are since the main suit is still pending, the issue is subjudice,” he said adding: “The issue of Justice Sen’s misconduct is a proven misbehavior within article 124 and article 217 (of the constitution) which are not pending in any court.”

The motion, moved Wednesday by Communist Party of India-Marxist leader Sitaram Yechury, seeks Sen’s removal for misappropriation of large sums of money which he received in his capacity as receiver appointed by the Calcutta High Court and misrepresentation of facts.

Sen is the second judge in India’s history after Justice V. Ramaswami of the Supreme Court in May 1993 to face impeachment proceedings for unbecoming conduct. The motion against Ramaswami, however, fell through in the Lok Sabha as the ruling Congress abstained from voting.

Sen, who spoke after Yechury moved the motion, said he was defending his very existence.
“I am defending my life, very existence. Please decide in accordance with your conscience, applying your mind and on merit,” he added.

The house will vote on the motion later Thursday.

If the motion is passed by two-thirds of the members present and voting, it will go to the Lok Sabha within a week. If it is approved by both the houses of parliament in the same session, the motion would go to the president, who can order the removal of the judge from office.

A three-member committee constituted by Rajya Sabha Chairman Hamid Ansari found the charges of financial irregularities against Sen to be correct. He is accused of misappropriating around Rs. 24 lakh in the 1990s when he was a lawyer and was appointed a receiver by the high court.

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