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LS to go ahead with impeachment of Sen

delhi Updated: Sep 03, 2011 02:32 IST
Saroj Nagi
Saroj Nagi
Hindustan Times
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The Lok Sabha will proceed with the impeachment of justice Soumitra Sen who had sent his resignation to President Pratibha Patil on Thursday to avoid the ignominy of becoming the first judge to be impeached by Parliament.

The Rajya Sabha had earlier endorsed the impeachment motion against the Calcutta high court judge who later decided not to appear before the bar of the Lower House.

The motion would be taken up on Monday and Tuesday. Parties such as the Congress have already issued a three line whip to their members for attendance and voting.

Though there was speculation whether the motion would be taken up, the decision to go ahead with it was based on Attorney General GE Vahanvati's recommendation. The senior-most law officer reportedly cited, among other reasons, the "paramount" importance of proper conclusion of the impeachment proceedings and the fact that the resignation may not be bonafide as it was "belated" and may have been submitted to avoid removal.

He recalled that though the judge was given opportunity to resign he decided to contest the proceedings and continued to deny any misbehaviour.

In his opinion to the department of justice, Vahanvati said that the impeachment process would become infructuous if it is not carried out in each House and presented to the President "in the same session" as stipulated in Article 124 (4) of the Constitution and Rule 16 (7) of Judges Inquiry Act.

Vahanvati was "seriously concerned" of a situation where an attempt may be made to withdraw or challenge the resignation by alleging that it was done under duress. The situation then would become irreversible as the impeachment proceedings would have lapsed by then.

This apparently had happened when a PIL in 1995 alleged that Justice AM Bhattacharjee, chief justice of Bombay High Court was pressured to resign.

Stating that the proper conclusion of impeachment proceedings is paramount, Vahanvati stressed that the time and effort put in by the inquiry panel and the Rajya Sabha MPs "cannot be set at naught" by a belated resignation whose only purpose may be to avoid removal.