'I have come here to seek justice'
Appearing before the Rajya Sabha in an impeachment motion, Justice Soumitra Sen of the Calcutta high court on Wednesday said allegations of misconduct and misappropriation of funds against him were aimed at victimising him in a pre-determined move.
In his almost two-hour defence in the Upper House which converted in a court for the first time, Sen pleaded for justice.
He said, "I have exhausted my remedies in accordance with the law. I have come here to seek justice. If you impeach me, it will be the gravest of injustice done ever. Kindly apply your mind before deciding on the judgment, as it is a question of my life."
He said, even if he was impeached, he would "scream from the rooftop that I have not misappropriated. I am being made a sacrificial lamb to cleanse the judiciary."
Also Read: FAQ on Impeachment of Judges
Click on NEXT to read further...
'The decision was taken long time ago'
Sen also said that tarnishing the image of a judge was akin to tarnishing the image of the judiciary.
Justice Sen appeared before a 'bar' posted at the gate of the central aisle of the Upper House facing the Chairman Hamid Ansari, as Communist Party of India - Marxist leader Sitaram Yechury moved two motions against him.
As the impeachment proceedings were about to start, Ansari asked the marshals, "Is Justice Sen in attendance? Bring him to the Bar of the House."
The motion, supported by Leader of Opposition Arun Jaitley, was on the ground of misconduct by Sen on account of misappropriation of large sums of money, which he received in his capacity as receiver before his elevation to the high court. The second ground is that he misrepresented facts with regard to the misappropriation of money before the high court.
Defending himself, Sen said, "The decision to hold me guilty was taken long time back" as an inquiry was initiated against him even after a division bench of the high court had cleared him of the charges.
'Is there a single allegation against me?'
He contended that the case against him was based on former Chief Justice K G Balakrishanan's letter to the prime minister in this regard. Balakrishnan thought a deeper probe was necessary, though there were no allegations against him, he said.
Sen said his conduct as a judge was never under examination. The allegations of misappropriation against him were in his capacity as a receiver of the high court in Kolkata and not as a Judge, he said.
"Is there a single allegation against me on the judicial side," he asked.
In a reference to a former CJI, Sen said he has not been held guilty of "land grabbing or amassing wealth" and neither are there any allegations against his relatives.
'They are too anxious to hold me guilty'
Sen said while he did not cast aspersions on the judiciary, there had been "abuse of power" by someone holding high office in the judiciary.
"They are too anxious to hold me guilty," he said.
He said the allegations against him were only in the form of "adverse observations" by a single judge and subsequently by an in-house committee.
While one judge disbelieved him, two other judges trusted him in the Division Bench Order, but the former CJI did not believe him.
"The man in the highest form of judiciary has held me guilty," he said, adding there was not much he could do.