New Delhi: Controversial Calcutta High Court Judge Justice Soumitra Sen's resignation is being accepted that may render the impeachment proceedings against him in the Lok Sabha on Monday infructuous.

A lawyer on behalf of Sen handed over the handwritten resignation letter to the President's Secretary Christy Fernandez this morning and it was "in order".

Official sources said that since the resignation letter was in accordance with the requirements unlike the earlier letter sent by him through fax, the President forwarded to the Law Ministry for formalities to be undertaken for acceptance.

Under the Constitution, a judge may, by writing under his hand, addressed to the President, resign his office.

A constitutional entity is free to tender his resignation on his own volition and action and there is no acceptance involved, the sources said, adding it comes into effect immediately if the resignation is in order.

Sen's lawyer Subhash Bhattacharya said that Sen wrote in his resignation letter: "I was elevated as a judge of Calcutta High Court on 3rd of December 2003. I hereby tender my resignation. Please accept my resignation."

With the acceptance formalities being completed, the Lok Sabha may drop the impeachment proceedings against Sen once formal communication is received from the government.

Rajya Sabha had on August 18 overwhelmingly voted to impeach the judge for "misconduct" and "misappropriation of funds" as a court receiver.

Justice Sen sends resignation in writing

Controversial Calcutta High Court Judge Justice Soumitra Sen earlier in the day had sent his resignation in writing to the President, raising fresh questions whether impeachment proceedings against him in the Lok Sabha on Monday will go on as scheduled.

"A lawyer on behalf of Justice Sen has handed over a resignation letter to the President. The President is perusing it," a Rashtrapati Bhawan spokesperson said on Saturday without disclosing details.

Sources said the resignation is "in order".

A constitutional entity is free to tender his resignation on his own volition and action and there is no acceptance involved, the sources said, adding it comes into effect immediately if the resignation is in order.

In the Constitution, there is no acceptance involved and the resignation given by a constitutional entity under hand and addressed to the President comes into effect immediately.

Sources said the President after perusing the letter will hand it over to the Department of Justice for further appropriate action.
A judge may by writing under his hand addressed to the President resign his office.

After reports that Justice Sen had sent his resignation by fax to the President, Attorney General G E Vahanvati is understood to have opined on Friday that the impeachment process should continue.

The Government's top law officer is learnt to have pointed out that since the resignation letter is 'not in proper format', it could be rejected by the President and by stopping impeachment proceedings at this stage, would allow Justice Sen to continue.

The Attorney General is understood to have advised the government that it is too late to stop the process since it has already commenced.

Highly placed sources said that Vahanvati has opined that "the impeachment motion against Justice Sen must go on as per the schedule in the Lok Sabha.

"The impeachment proceedings figures in the List of business to be taken up in the Lok Sabha on Monday. It is to be taken up at 2 pm.

Sen (53) 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.

The impeachment motion against Sen was passed with an overwhelming majority by the Rajya Sabha on August 18.

Sources said that Vahanvati has based his opinion by referring to Article 124 (4) of the Constitution dealing with the procedure for removal of judges of higher judiciary.

He is understood to have said that Justice Sen should have resigned before the Rajya Sabha took up the impeachment proceedings.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal had said that a decision whether to go ahead with impeachment proceedings against Sen will be taken after the Lok Sabha receives communication from the Law Ministry.

He said, "If there is a clear resignation, perhaps the matter comes to an end and if there is any doubt the proceedings might go on".

(Agencies)