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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Impeachment Proceeding Against A Judge

Rajya Sabha will be converted into a court on 17.08.2011Wednesday for its first impeachment proceeding against a judge as it takes up a motion against Justice Soumitra Sen of the Calcutta high court(found guilty by a special committee constituted by Rajya Sabha chairman Hamid Ansari)
The first of the two grounds of misconduct against Sen being cited in the motion is misappropriation of large sums of money, which he received in his capacity as receiver appointed by the High Court.
The second ground is that he misrepresented facts with regard to the misappropriation of money before the High Court.
53-year old  Justice Soumitra Sen will be the 2nd judge against whom impeachment proceedings will be initiated when Rajya Sabha takes up the motion. 

 The Rajya Sabha voted overwhelmingly in favour of the motion to impeach Calcutta high court judge Soumitra Sen on  18.08.2011 Thursday.Out of 206 lawmakers in the 245-member House, 189 voted in favour of impeaching Sen who had been found guilty of misappropriation of funds and misrepresentation of facts by a judicial inquiry committee appointed by the Rajya Sabha. This was well above the two-thirds majority required to impeach a judge for “proven misbehaviour” as prescribed under Article 124 of the Constitution and the Judges Inquiry Act, 1968. There were 17 votes against the motion.The impeachment vote saw members of all parties, except the Mayawati-led Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), hold Sen guilty of misappropriating Rs.33.23 lakh in a 1983 case. Sen had been appointed as a receiver of monies by the Calcutta high court when he was practising as an advocate at the time.

The 1st such case involved the impeachment motion in Lok Sabha of Justice V Ramaswami of the Supreme Court in May 1993 which fell due to lack of numbers after Congress members abstained. 

A scandal surfaced in the middle of year 1990 when several media outlets reported about his ostentatious expenditure on his official residence during his tenure as a Chief Justice of Punjab & Haryana.Supreme Court Bar Association passed a resolution calling for his impeachment and requesting Chief justice not assign him any further legal work.BJP and Left parties submitted a notice of motion to the Indian Parliament seeking his removal from office.Accepting the motion on 12 March 1991, LS Speaker Rabi Ray constituted a committee
to investigate the affair. The committee found Ramaswami guilty of 11 out of 14 charges.The impeachment motion was placed in the assembly for debate and voting on 10 May 1993. Of 401 members present in the assemby that day, there were 196 votes for impeachment and no votes against and 205 abstentions by ruling Congress and its allies.

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