Justice Sen invested in private firm: Panel

Justice Sen invested in private firm: Panel

A three-member judicial committee appointed by Rajya Sabha Chairman Hamid Ansari in March 2009 found Justice Sen guilty of “misbehaviour”under article 124(4)of the Constitution.

The committee said there were “apparent and obvious contradictions” between the bank statements and Justice Sen’s previous assertions in written statements that the entire amount had been invested in Lynx India Ltd which went into liquidation in 1999-2000.

Justice Sen has been in the eye of a storm after he allegedly misappropriated Rs 33.22 lakh which he took from a purchaser of goods in 1984, after the court had appointed him as a receiver in a dispute between the Steel Authority of India Limited and the Shipping Corporation of India.

Justice Sen kept it in a savings bank account and misrepresented the facts to the High Court. The judicial committee’s report said oral and documentary evidence established that two separate accounts were opened by Justice Sen as “receiver” in his own name and a total sum aggregating to Rs 33.22 lakh being the sale proceeds of goods were brought into the two accounts between March 24, 1993 and May 5, 1995.

The report also said that Justice Sen neither gave evidence before the committee nor made any statement nor even personally attended any of the hearings to enable the committee to be "assured" from the judge himself as to how the amount was "actually invested and where" and how it was spent.

“By refusing to attend or personally participate in the proceedings before the committee, he, Justice Sen, denied himself the opportunity of giving an explanation (if he had any),” the committee noted.

Earlier, senior Supreme Court Judge Justice D K Jain, who was chairman of a committee for initiating impeachment against Justice Sen, withdrew from it citing “personal reasons”.  An impeachment motion would involve invoking the Judges (Inquiry) Act, 1968, according to which impeachment of a judge of the higher judiciary can be done by Parliament and initiated after a motion addressed to the President is signed by at least 100 Lok Sabha and 50 Rajya Sabha members.

According to Article 124(4) of the Constitution: “A judge of a high court shall not be removed from his office except by an order of the President passed after an address by each House of Parliament supported by a majority of the total number of membership of that House and by a majority of not less than two-thirds of the members of that House present and voting has been presented to the President in the same session for such removal on the ground of proved misbehaviour or incapacity.”

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