New Delhi, Sep 3 President Pratibha Patil Saturday sent the resignation of Calcutta High Court’s Justice Soumitra Sen to the department of justice for issuance of a notification which may render as infructuous the impending impeachment motion in the Lok Sabha for his removal.
The motion for removal of the judge was included in the list of business of the Lok Sabha Monday.
His (Justice Sen’s) resignation is valid. It has already been sent to the justice department for notification,? Archana Datta, spokesperson of Rashtrapati Bhavan, told IANS.
Justice Soumitra Sen Saturday sent his resignation letter through his lawyers to the president.
“His lawyers came and submitted his resignation letter written in his (Justice Sen’s) own handwriting,? Datta said.
Sen’s lawyer Subhash Bhattacharya said in Kolkata that Sen wrote in his resignation letter: “I was elevated as a judge of Calcutta High Court on Dec 3, 2003. I hereby tender my resignation. Please accept my resignation.”
Bhattacharya said Justice Sen has not yet decided whether he will be present at the time of the Lok Sabha motion because of a medical emergency in his family.
He also said no official communication has been received from the Lok Sabha about the schedule Monday.
He said since the resignation letter, written and signed by Justice Sen, has been received by the office of the president, it was expected that parliament may not proceed further against him.
Official sources said Attorney General G.E. Vahanvati Friday recommended that the motion for Sen’s removal may be taken up despite his resignation.
The attorney general’s opinion came after the President’s Office sent a faxed copy of Sen’s resignation to the justice department, while waiting for the original copy of his resignation letter to cross-check his signature.
As per the laid down procedure, both houses of parliament have to pass the impeachment motion during the same session, after which the address is sent to the president for removal from office of a Supreme Court or high court judge found guilty of misconduct.
A union minister, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, earlier told IANS that the possibility of the Lok Sabha taking up motion for Sen’s removal would depend on the decision of the president.
“The ball is in the president’s court. If the president accepts the resignation and the decision is notified, then he (Justice Sen) ceases to be a judge. There will be no need for a motion on his removal in the Lok Sabha then,” the minister said, adding that the impeachment motion would be taken up if the resignation is rejected.
The Rajya Sabha Aug 18 adopted an impeachment motion for removal of Justice Sen with 189 members voting in favour and 16 against it.
Justice Sen announced his resignation in Kolkata Thursday through his lawyer. He sent a copy of his resignation letter to Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar too.
Justice Sen is the first judge against whom any of the two houses of parliament has passed an impeachment motion. The first such attempt to impeach a judge was against Justice V. Ramaswami of the Supreme Court in 1993 but the motion to remove him fell through in the Lok Sabha as the ruling Congress abstained.
A three-member committee constituted by Rajya Sabha Chairman M. Hamid Ansari found the charges of financial irregularities against Sen to be correct.
Justice Sen, then an advocate, was held guilty of misappropriating Rs.33.23 lakh in a 1983 case, while he was appointed a receiver by the high court.
He denied the allegations during a hearing in the Rajya Sabha.