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SC bins plea on judge
Soumitra Sen

New Delhi, Nov. 25: The Supreme Court today refused to quash the Rajya Sabha’s impeachment proceedings against former Calcutta High Court judge Soumitra Sen, saying it would not interfere with Parliament proceedings.

“You want us to quash the impeachment proceedings of the Rajya Sabha?” a two-judge bench headed by Justice Aftab Alam asked the counsel. Some time later, he said: “It would be a waste of time (to hear the petition).”

The PIL was filed by Subhasish Chakraborty, who was Sen’s junior as lawyer from 1993 to December 2003 when Sen was elevated as a judge. The impeachment proceedings against Sen had to be abandoned midway as he resigned a day before the Lok Sabha was expected to take up the motion against him. The Lower House decided not to proceed with the motion.

Sen had submitted his resignation to the President on September 1 this year, days after the Rajya Sabha voted to impeach him.

In his petition, Chakraborty urged the court to declare the impeachment process vitiated on the ground that it violated all constitutional requirements.

The Howrah lawyer said the in-house inquiry by the erstwhile Chief Justice of India focused on an issue in which Sen had already been cleared by a division bench of the high court.

Chakraborty also contested the legality of the Rajya Sabha’s reliance on the inquiry report to initiate the impeachment proceedings. He said the House should not have carried the motion through on the basis of the report’s conclusion that Sen’s alleged corruption amounted to misbehaviour.

Sen was found guilty of misappropriating Rs 33.23 lakh under his custody as a court-appointed receiver in the capacity as a lawyer and misrepresenting facts before a Calcutta court in a 1983 case.

But Chakraborty urged the apex court to examine whether “misbehaviour” alleged to have been committed by a practising advocate prior to his elevation as a judge amounted to “misbehaviour” under Article 124 (4) of the Constitution. He sought to know whether there was any definite material or evidence against Sen for introducing such a motion against Sen.

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