New Delhi: On a day when Anna Hazare's anti corruption protests swelled across different towns and cities in the country, the upper house of Parliament for the first time ever began impeachment proceedings against a sitting judge of the Calcutta High Court for corruption.
Justice Soumitra Sen on Wednesday attended the Rajya Sabha to defend himself in an impeachment motion.
In his almost two-hour defence in the Rajya Sabha which converted in a court for the first time, Sen pleaded for justice.
CPM MP Sitaram Yechury read out the motion seeking justice Sen's removal as a judge.
"This has not happened in our history so far. By moving this motion we are not moving against the judiciary, it is only a motion against one judge. Individual acts of misbehaviour cannot find refuge," said Yechury.
"Judges are assumed to be of supreme character. I have moved this motion in response to call of duty. This motion is moved with the full sanction of our Constitution. Our constitution provides very important duty to judiciary. It would be a very sad day if this faith of the people is undermined," said the CPI(M) leader.
But Justice Sen, who was afforded one last opportunity to defend himself before the House, put up an offensive defence.
Sen began with attacking the former Chief Justice of India KG Balakrishnan, who wrote to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh seeking his impeachment and also dragged in other former judges.
"So, first carrot, stick is coming later - you have an offer of VRS...next you resign, and if you resign, we shall ensure that you get a good post in some PSU. If I don't take any of the options, I will be further investigated by the CBI, by the inspectors of the CBI and if necessary, third degree will be applied to me," said Justice Soumitra Sen.
In this impeachment proceeding, Sen is being tried for misappropriation of funds he received when he was a lawyer in the High Court. The people who want Justice sen impeached are convinced of his guilt.
"Though other people, who committed offences while being a judge and got away with it, is no ground available to any judge to say 'I must also get away with the offence'. In the matter of violation of law, there is no Article 14," said the Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha and senior BJP leader Arun Jaitely.
An impeachment of a judge is not easy, but a beginning has been made to make judges accountable - this at a time the government insists on keeping judges out of the Lokpal ambit.