Former Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee had questioned the impeachment (removal) proceedings against Calcutta High Court judge Soumitra Sen, citing biased attitude of the then Chief Justice of India K.G. Balakrishnan against the judge.
A 21-page letter written by Chatterjee to Rajya Sabha chairman Hamid Ansari, shortly after he demitted the Speaker’s post in June last year, reveals his anger on the issue. He stated that there was no complaint against Justice Sen in his career as a judge.
The letter was written soon after Ansari formed a three member panel to probe allegations against the controversial judge. The panel has now submitted its report, and is understood to have held Justice Sen guilty. The report will be placed during winter session of parliament, beginning next month.
“It is absolutely clear that the whole initiative for initiating the impeachment proceedings has been taken by the learned CJI (Justice Balakrishnan) and so-me of his brother judges, who had gone into the matter without giving opportunity to the judge (Sen) except on the question of punishment,” he wrote.
Chatterjee said once the CJI had expressed his opinion in a particular matter, no judge would dare oppose him and findings of the probe panel appear to be a foregone conclusion.
“Obviously a citizen will assume the CJI and some of his brother judges having already found the concerned judge guilty of alleged misbehaviour committed before he became a judge…who in India will question such a decision taken at the highest level of the judiciary?” observed the parliamentarian. He slammed Balakrishnan’s move to form an in-house panel to probe allegation of misappropriation of public funds against Justice Sen.