In dock, judge fights with his back to the wall

Impeachment proceedings begin in Rajya Sabha to full House

They knew it was special. For, impeachment of a member of higher judiciary in Parliament does not happen every day.

The Rajya Sabha was converted into a court where Justice Soumitra Sen of Calcutta High Court appeared before a ‘bar’ ‘posted’ at the gate of the central aisle of the Rajya Sabha facing Chairman Hamid Ansari.

Spirited defence

As the proceedings began exactly at 3 pm as per schedule, there was total silence in the House as CPM MP Sitaram Yechury moved the motion. Justice Sen, the next person to speak, argued the case himself and did his case no harm as he put up a spirited defence.

Justice Sen, in his two hours of submission driven with confidence, sought to counter point by point the issues raised by the Rajya Sabha-appointed probe committee.

He, along with his two advocates, also dissected the probe committee report. While arguing, Sen tried to turn the tables against the probe panel  by highlighting its “flaws” as many law makers nodded with appreciation. When the Chairman asked him to conclude his arguments after the allotted one and a half hours, members from the House asked the Chair to give him more time.

Cutting across party lines many Lok Sabha members, including Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj and Chairman of BJP Parliamentary Party L K Advani, watched the event from the MPs’ gallery.

Many young BJP MPs like Anurag Thakur, Shahnawaz Hussain, Sandeep Dikshit, Jyoti Mirdha, Shruti Choudhury, Ravneet Singh Bittu, Deepa Dashmunshi and Mohd Azharuddin, NCP MP Supriya Sule, BSP MP Dhananjaya Singh etc watched the rare event. Even the media gallery was full with members of the fourth estate witnessing the proceedings.

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