For impeachment proceedings to become infructuous in Lok Sabha

The impeachment proceedings in the Lok Sabha to remove Justice Soumitra Sen are expected to be held as scheduled on September 5 and 6 unless a valid resignation letter under his own hand reaches President Pratibha Patil's office by then.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal told journalists here on Friday that the President had received the letter just by fax, which is not a valid resignation.

Article 217 clause 1(a) of the Constitution states a judge may resign by writing under his hand addressed to the President.

For the impeachment process to become infructuous, the President must sign the file, accepting the resignation letter written in Justice Sen's own handwriting, and convey her decision to the Lok Sabha by Monday morning.

In the Rajya Sabha, the impeachment proceedings against the Calcutta High Court judge on charges of embezzlement were completed earlier this session with the House voting overwhelmingly against him. But this process needs to be taken up by the Lok Sabha as well for the impeachment process to be completed.

Reports from Kolkata say Justice Sen signed the resignation letter and it was being sent by courier to the President as well as Speaker Meira Kumar.

The Lok Sabha can, however, can take cognisance of only a message from the President that the resignation has been received and accepted.

Too late: Vahanvati

PTI reports:

The Lok Sabha will go ahead with the impeachment proceedings against Kolkata High Court judge Soumitra Sen as scheduled on Monday with Attorney-General Ghulam Vahanvati saying on Friday that the process should continue despite his resignation.

With Justice Sen's resignation submitted to President Pratibha Patil on Thursday raising questions about the fate of the proceedings, Mr. Vahanvati is understood to have advised the Centre that it was too late to stop the process since it had already started.

His opinion has been validated by Law Minister Salman Khurshid, official sources said. — PTI

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