Justice Soumitra Sen Guilty
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Justice Soumitra Sen Guilty

Bar & Bench

Justice Soumitra Sen has been found guilty by the Parliament Committee, which now will initiate the process of impeachment.

Justice Soumitra Sen (pictured) has been found guilty by the Parliament Committee, which now will initiate the process of impeachment.

The three member panel set up in 2009 was formed specifically to address the issue of investigating the grounds of misuse of funds by Justice Soumitra Sen. The panel is headed by Supreme Court Judge, Justice B. Sudershan Reddy, noted Senior Advocate Fali S. Nariman and Chief Justice of the Punjab & Haryana High Court, Justice  Mukul Mudgal.

The Judicial Committee of the Parliament set up by Rajya Sabha Chairman, Hamid Ansari has declared Justice Sen guilty of committing the act of misappropriation of sale proceeds as a practicing advocate, appointed as a receiver by the Calcutta High Court in a civil suitin 1984. Justice Sen was appointed as a judge of the Calcutta High Court in 2003 and the misappropriation was discovered in 2006.

NDTV reports that Justice Sen stated that he should not be dismissed as the charges he faces are for actions when he was a lawyer and had not been appointed  as a judge.

The Times of India reports of the following charges of “guilty of misbehaviour under Article 124(4) read with proviso (b) to Article 217(1) of the Constitution of India”. The strong decision came after Sitaram Yechury and more than 50 other Rajya Sabha MPs (Member of Parliament) asked for Justice Sen to be dismissed on grounds of misusing funds, as a lawyer. The Judges Inquiry Act states that it will have to be decided by the Rajya Sabha and Justice Sen will be called upon to defend himself with his counsel.

The Committee also reported that Justice Sen refused to participate or attend the proceeding before the Committee and thus denied himself any chance of offering an explanation for the funds misused.

Bar & Bench reported of the Justice Sen scandal first in November 2009 and again in May 2010, when 58 members had moved a motion to impeach the judge and the noted incident of misusing the funds as a receiver in a dispute between Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL) and the Shipping Corporation of India.

This is the second time round that the Parliament has initiated proceedings in the removal of a judge. According to Outlook India a  similar scenario took place in the case of removal of Justice V. Ramaswami in 1990 when several media outlets reported about his flamboyant expenditure on his residence during his tenure as the Chief Justice of Punjab & Haryana High Court. In Justice Ramaswami’s case 12 of the 14 charges were held proved.

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