SC­toHear SuoMotu Con­tempt Is­sue Against HC Judge

The Economic Times - - Pure Politics -

New Del h i : A seven-judge Supreme Court bench will hear a suo motu con­tempt pe­ti­tion ini­ti­ated against con­tro­ver­sial sit­ting Cal­cutta High Court j udge S Kar­nan over his in­tem­per­ate re­marks against sev­eral judges in Madras and Cal­cutta High Courts, and im­pro­pri­ety of some of his ju­di­cial or­ders.

In an event un­prece­dented in ju­di­cial his­tory, Jus­tice Kar­nan will have to ap­pear per­son­ally to de­fend him­self be­fore the seven-judge bench. If the charges against him are proved, Jus­tice Kar­nan stands to be sen­tenced to a six month term in jail, or a fine, or both, in a ju­di­cial first. No judge has ever been sent to jail for con­tempt or been fined in In­dia. Jus­tice Kar­nan, a Dalit, has in the past al­leged caste dis­crim­i­na­tion and vic­tim­i­sa­tion.

Fol­low­ing an in­tem­per­ate out­burst in the Madras High Court he was trans­ferred to Cal­cutta High Court as a dis­ci­plinary mea­sure. At first he had re­fused to go, and stayed the col­legium or­der trans­fer­ring him, but later ac­cepted the or­der and moved to the Cal­cutta High Court. He courted con­tro­versy there too, deal­ing with cases out of turn, tak­ing upon him­self cases he was not as­signed to by the chief jus­tice who is the mas­ter of the court ros­ter, and re­scinded bail or­ders passed by fel­low judges.

In­sid­ers said caste fault lines are deep in the ju­di­ciary with a Reddy judgere­placin­gaRed­dy­judgeinthe courts in the south. “There could be sometruthin­hisal­le­ga­tion­sof hav­ingto­face­casteprej­u­dice,”aper­son said on the con­di­tion of anonymity. But the im­punity with which Jus­tice Kar­nan flouted ju­di­cial dis­ci­pline of never can­celling or­ders of equiv­a­lent benches, and not call­ing for cases out of turn, could not be coun­te­nanced, the per­son said. “That was sure to in­vite dis­ci­plinary ac­tion sooner or later.” Among other things, Jus­tice Kar­nan­haslev­elleda­hostof al­le­ga­tions of cor­rup­tion and malfea­sance against sev­eral sit­ting and re­tired judges. He even wrote a letter to Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi lev­el­ling al­le­ga­tions of cor­rup­tion against the then sit­ting Madras High Court Chief Jus­tice.

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