Justice Sen files reply to the Council of States

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Justice Soumitra Sen of the Calcutta High Court yesterday filed his reply to the inquiry panel of the Council of States. 58 members had moved a motion to impeach the judge on the basis of a recommendation by the Chief Justice of India, K.G. Balakrishnanan. The Council of States had convened an inquiry panel comprising Justice B.Sudarshan Reddy of the Supreme Court, Chief Justice of the Punjab & Haryana High Court, Mukul Mudgal and Senior Counsel Fali Nariman. The panel had issued a charge sheet to Justice Sen on April 19, 2010 and had given him time until May 5, 2010 to reply.

In 1993, when Justice Sen was an advocate in the Calcutta High Court and appointed as a receiver in a dispute between Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL) and the Shipping Corporation of India, he had been directed to deposit Rs. 24 lakh ($53,000) collected from the sale of some goods. He was then appointed as judge of the Calcutta High Court in 2003. SAIL filed a petition to recover the money, which was found to be lying in Justice Sen’s personal bank account. Justice Sen was found to have diverted the funds and in 2008 was ordered to pay the amount back with interest which was around Rs. 52 lakh ($116,000). While passing the order in the petition filed by SAIL, Justice Kalyan Jyoti Sengupta observed that Justice Sen “Had betrayed the trust  and confidence reported in him by this court."

An anonymous source told newswire PTI that Justice Sen had denied all charges in his reply. The inquiry panel would take his reply into account and report its findings to Vice President Hamid Ansari.

An in-house committee was appointed by the Chief Justice of India, K.G. Balakrishnan. The committee had asked Sen to either step down or take voluntary retirement. After he failed to comply with directions of the committee, the Chief Justice recommended Sen’s impeachment to the Prime Minister of India. 

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Published in Constitutional Law
Source : bench & bar, http://barandbench.com/index.php?title=Justice%20Sen%20files%20reply%20to%20the%20Council%20of%20States&page=brief&id=699&gn=
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