Lok Sabha drops impeachment motion against Sen

September 5th, 2011 - 4:42 pm ICT by IANS  

Pratibha Patil New Delhi, Sep 5 (IANS) With President Pratibha Patil accepting his resignation, the Lok Sabha Monday dropped impeachment proceedings against former Calcutta High Court judge Soumitra Sen, bringing to a premature end a process that began in the Rajya Sabha last month.

Law Minister Salman Khurshid moved the motion to drop impeachment proceedings against Sen as soon as the Lok Sabha met at 2 p.m. for its post-lunch sitting. Speaker Meira Kumar put it to vote before the house, which adopted the motion.

Sen was held guilty by the Rajya Sabha last month on charges of misappropriating Rs.33.23 lakh in a 1983 case when he was appointed a receiver by the high court. The upper house had on Aug 18 adopted an impeachment motion for removal of Sen with 189 members voting in favour and 16 against, after he had put up a spirited defence.

After the Rajya Sabha, it was the turn of the Lok Sabha to carry through impeachment proceedings and it was listed in lower house’s business for Monday. However, Sen Saturday sent in his resignation to the president, who accepted it and forwarded it to the justice department, which issued a formal notification.

With Sen ceasing to be a judge, the Lok Sabha speaker held consultations with ministers and leaders of various political parties Monday morning. Senior ministers of the government, including Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, met to discuss the issue and decided to drop the impeachment motion.

Though there were some voices, particular in some political parties, that the lower house should go ahead with the proceedings, the government, in the end, decided to drop the impeachment motion.

Sen is the first judge against whom any of the two houses of parliament had passed an impeachment motion. The first such attempt to impeach a judge was against Justice V. Ramaswami of the Supreme Court in 1993, but the motion to remove him fell through in the Lok Sabha as the ruling Congress abstained.

The impeachment proceedings were initiated in the Rajya Sabha after a three-member committee constituted by the upper house chairman, Hamid Ansari, found the charges of financial irregularities against Sen to be correct.

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