New Delhi: Justice Soumitra Sen of the Calcutta High Court could be the first judge in the country to be removed, with the Rajya Sabha on Thursday overwhelmingly approving impeachment motion against him.

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As many as 189 members voted in favour of the motion to impeach the 53-year-old Judge after a two-day debate on the issue, in the second case in Parliament's history and the first-ever in the Upper House. 17 members voted against.

All parties except BSP were of the view that Sen was guilty of misappropriating Rs 33.23 lakh which were under his custody as a court-appointed receiver in the capacity as a lawyer and misrepresenting facts before a Calcutta court.

Impeachment proceedings followed motions moved by Sitaram Yechury (CPI-M) and Leader of the Opposition Arun Jaitley after an Inquiry Committee, appointed by the Rajya Sabha Chairman and headed by Supreme Court Judge B Sudershan Reddy, held Sen guilty of misbehaviour.

Sen on Wednesday appeared before the House and strongly defended himself arguing that he was a "victim" and appealed to members to vote by conscience. The House, however, rejected his defence.

With the Rajya Sabha giving its nod for removal of Justice Sen, the impeachment motion will now be taken up by the Lok Sabha next week with the Lower House expected to deliberate on it on August 24-25.

Soumitra Sen: First judge impeached by RS

Justice Soumitra Sen could go down in history as the first judge to be removed if Lok Sabha gives its consent next week to the motion for his impeachment.

The first such case involved the impeachment motion in Lok Sabha of Justice V Ramaswami of the Supreme Court in May 1993 which fell due to lack of numbers after Congress members abstained.

Incidentally, Union Minister Kapil Sibal who was then a senior advocate, had presented the case of Justice Ramaswami before the Lower House.

Justice P D Dinakaran, Chief Justice of the Sikkim High Court, against whom the Rajya Sabha Chairman had set up a judicial panel to enquire into allegations of corruption, had resigned on July 29 this year, before an impeachment could be initiated against him.

Unlike Ramaswami, Sen presented his case personally backed by two lawyers.

I'm extremely disappointed: Sen

Justice Soumitra Sen, against whom the Rajya Sabha approved an impeachment motion, has said he is extremely disappointed.

"I am extremely disappointed," Sen reacted on his return here from Delhi.

The Calcutta High Court judge had himself presented his case against the motion in the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday.

Sen could be the first judge in the country to be removed after the Rajya Sabha's approval.

As many as 189 members voted in favour of the motion to impeach the 53-year-old judge after a two-day debate on the issue. Seventeen members voted against.

"If allowed, my client will defend himself in the Lok Sabha," Sen's counsel Subhas Bhattacharya said.

"My client considers himself not guilty of the charges brought against him and as such would like to present his case in the lower house where the motion will have to be passed," he said.

BSP MPs oppose Sen Impeachment

In a surprise move, Bahujan Samaj Party MPs opposed the Impeachment of Justice Soumitra Sen in the Rajya Sabha on Thursday.

Standing against the impeachment motion, BSP leader in Rajya Sabha, Satish Chandra Mishra, said, “The findings have said there has only been diversion of funds and not misappropriation.”

Mishra who even questioned the credibility of the judiciary said, “The finding of a single judge was dismissed by a division bench,” and added that the charges referred to the time when Sen was a lawyer and not a judge and the charges are yet to be proved.

Mishra had earlier consulted party supremo Mayawati and was entrusted with responsibility of taking right decision in the House.

BSP’s move on Sen has surprised many in the political circle. Behind the move, the BSP is said to be looking for its own hidden benefit.

(JPN/ Bureau/Agencies)