New Delhi, Aug 18: Justice Soumitra Sen of the Calcutta High Court could go down in history as the first judge to be removed if Lok Sabha gives its consent next week to the motion for his impeachment.
With the Upper House approving with overwhelming majority of 189 votes in favour and 17 against, the issue is expected to come up in the Lower House on August 24-25.
Sen's impeachment was the first in the Rajya Sabha, which was converted into a court, as he was found guilty of misappropriating Rs 33.23 lakh, which were under his custody as a court-appointed receiver in the capacity as a lawyer and misrepresenting facts before a Calcutta court.
The first 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.
Incidentally, Union Minister Kapil Sibal who was then a senior advocate, had presented the case of Justice Ramaswami before the Lower House.
Justice P D Dinakaran, Chief Justice of the Sikkim High Court, against whom the Rajya Sabha Chairman had set up a judicial panel to enquire into allegations of corruption, had resigned on July 29 this year, before an impeachment could be initiated against him.
Unlike Ramaswami, Sen presented his case personally backed by two lawyers.
In Kolkata, Justice Soumitra Sen, against whom the Rajya Sabha today approved an impeachment motion, says he is extremely disappointed.
“I am extremely disappointed,” was Sen's reaction to PTI on his return here from Delhi when asked about the matter.
The Calcutta High Court judge had himself presented his case against the motion in the Rajya Sabha yesterday. Sen could be the first judge in the country to be removed after the Rajya Sabha's approval.
As many as 189 members voted in favour of the motion to impeach the 53-year-old judge after a two-day debate on the issue. Seventeen members voted against.
“If allowed, my client will defend himself in the Lok Sabha,” Sen's counsel Subhas Bhattacharya said.
“My client considers himself not guilty of the charges brought against him and as such would like to present his case in the lower house where the motion will have to be passed,” he said. PTI