Parmanand Pandey

I am posting it on my blog after fairly a long gap of time. During the interregnum the momentous agitation of Anna Hazare took place for nearly a fortnight. Proceedings to impeach Justice Soumitra Sen of Calcutta High Court were conducted in the Rajya Sabha and it was passed with over whelming majority. Anna’s movement got tremendous support, particularly from youth of the country. The government that was initially bluffing and blustering started shivering and shuddering a few days later. Anna came out victorious with thunderous applause all over the country.

However, I am not going to write this time on Anna Hazare but on Mr. Soumitra Sen. It is undoubtedly a very sad saga in the annals of judiciary. Mr. Sen was given nearly two hours time by the Chairman to defend himself and prove his innocence after the motion for his impeachment was moved by Sitaram Yechury in the Rajya Sabha. Mr Sen waxed eloquent in his absorbing style and language. There were many members of the Rajya Sabha, who actually came under the spell of his oratory. At one time it appeared that he had demolished all allegations levelled on him and would carry the day. But thanks to the leader of opposition Arun Jaitley, his insincerity and hypocrisy stood exposed. Jaitley tore asunder all his arguments and turned the table. Later other leaders in their speeches buttressed the viewpoints of Jaitley and said that Mr. Sen had no courage to face any of the three enquiry committees, which were set up to enquire into his misconducts.

It is interesting to note here that Mr. Sen never appeared before any committee where he could be cross examined. He deliberately avoided facing the committees knowing it fully well that examination-in-chief without cross examination has no value in the eyes of law. This is not taken as evidence but it is mere statement of an accused, which invariably contains tons of falsehood and only some grains of truth.

Mr. Sen is a typical Bengali bluff master. While lecturing in the Rajya Sabha he said that he was made a ‘sacrificial lamb’ but he was not a ‘quitter’. He would fight it to the last. He would tell the world from the house tops that he was absolutely guiltless. He was a victim of conspiracy hatched by some judges of the Calcutta High Court, who had been jealous of him. He said that the former Chief Justice of India K.G. Balakrishnan, him self a corrupt judge, made him the soft target to show that he was free from corruptions.

There is no doubt that Mr. Sen was not to be impeached for any misconduct during the period of his judgeship but he was being held guilty for the period when he was an Advocate and was appointed a Receiver by the High Court. His conduct as a Receiver was, no doubt, unbecoming to say the least. What actually defies logic is that how could he be appointed in the first place because before the appointment of any person, his bona fides are properly enquired into? People say that Mr. Sen has always been a ‘go-getter’. He could induce anybody to do a thing to his own liking. That is how he could pitchfork in the hallowed circle of the High Court judge.

This has compelled every right thinking person to give a new thought to the very system of appointment of High Court and Supreme Court judges. This also proves the point to the hilt that there are a large number of corrupt judges working in the High Courts and the Supreme Court of India and if immediate remedial measures to cleanse the existing judicial appointment system are not introduced, the ingenious and insincere persons would make their way in the judiciary bringing bad name and repute to it.

Mr. Soumitra Sen has now resigned. If he had the courage, as he claimed then he would have not resigned. Although his impeachment was a foregone conclusion yet at least his defence would have become the part of the history in the same manner as the impeachments of Lord Clive and Warren Hastings in the House of Lords have now become the precedents.

The question, therefore, remains, why the impeachment proceedings in the Lok Sabha were dropped? Some say that the impeachment was only for removing the judge, what was the need for the exercise, when he has already resigned? After resignation the impeachment became infructuous. That is very true but the resignation has not washed away his misconducts. Witch-hinting is bad but impeachment should have been gone into, that too, after marathon exercises at many stages. Now all of a sudden when the person concerned has resigned then all his sins do not go in to thin air. This aspect must be kept in mind for the future.


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