RS accepts notice on bill to amend statute

The Rajya Sabha has accepted a notice on the Constitution Amendment Bill for making changes in Articles 124 and 217 of the Constitution, which deal with the removal of the judges of the Supreme Court and high courts for any misconduct like corruption through impeachment proceedings.

As per the existing provisions in Articles 124(2) and 217(1), if a judge submits his or her resignation amidst the impeachment proceedings, the same will abruptly come to an end and the resignation will deem to be accepted by the President. Thus a judge easily escapes scrutiny and indictment by Parliament.
The amendment bill submitted to the Rajya Sabha chairman by nominated member H.K. Dua provides for bringing the impeachment proceedings to “logical end” and makes the acceptance of the resignation of the judge by the President subject to the final decision by Parlia-ment. “I hope to get the support of all political parties on this important issue. Rajya Sabha is likely to take it up the bill soon after commencement of the session on August 8,” said Mr Dua, who is a senior journalist and had been the editor of several leading newspapers before his nomination to the Upper House.
“The process of impeachment should not be aborted merely on submission of the resignation by a judge facing serious charges of misconduct and the President should not accept the resignation till the matter is in the hands of Parliament,” he said adding the final outcome of the impeachment motion could go either way, even the judge could be “exonerated”.
The amendment bill was conceived in the backdrop of “aborting” the impeachment proceedings halfway against Calcutta high court judge Soumitra Sen after the Rajya Sabha had passing the motion and Lok Sabha was to take it up and Sikkim high court Chief Justice P.D. Dinakaran resigning when inquiry by a judicial committee set up by Rajya Sabha chairman was at the final stage against him.

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