Supreme Court finds Jus­tice Kar­nan guilty of Con­tempt

Libertatem Magazine - - Contents - Jane Maria Tomy

Has the Supreme Court got so worked over a judge? Well, that’s hap­pen­ing for the first time in In­dia. The judge of Cal­cutta High Court, Jus­tice CS Kar­nan was is­sued a con­tempt or­der by the seven judge bench of the Supreme Court. The facts lead­ing to this or­der is as fol­lows.

Jus­tice CS Kar­nan was ap­pointed as the ad­di­tional judge in Madras High Court in 2009. Every­thing started from 2011. In 2011, Kar­nan called a press con­fer­ence for ac­cus­ing a fel­low judge of the High court of caste dis­crim­i­na­tion. He stated that the judge de­lib­er­ately touched him with his foot and dis­crim­i­nated him so. The next even hap­pened in 2015. He in­ter­rupted the ar­gu­ment which was go­ing on in a court­room in the Madras High Court on ju­di­cial ap­point­ments. He de­manded the court to hear him. Again, in April 2015, he be­gan a suo motu con­tempt pro­ceed­ings against the CJ of the Madras High Court, San­jay Kis­han Kaul. The rea­son that he stated was that the CJ was pur­pose­fully ha­rass­ing and dis­crim­i­nat­ing him as a lower caste and that is why, he has been giv­ing him “in­signif­i­cant and dummy” port­fo­lios. The Supreme Court in­ter­fered into the mat­ter and stayed these pro­ceed­ing.

In Fe­bru­ary 2016, Kar­nan ac­cused the CJ of Madras High Court of cor­rup­tion but there was no ev­i­dence to back these al­le­ga­tions. Hence, the apex court trans­ferred him to Cal­cutta High Court but Jus­tice Kar­nan is­sued a stay or­der on the trans­fer or­der of the apex court it­self. There­after, when the two-judge bench tried to lift the stay or­der, he asked the Chennai po­lice to book a case against them un­der SC/ST Atroc­i­ties Act. The apex court, fi­nally, threat­ened to is­sue con­tempt no­tice against him. Im­me­di­ately, he with­drew his state­ments and jus­ti­fied it by say­ing that his men­tal bal­ance was se­verely af­fected by the events.

Re­cently, he sent a list of judges’ name, re­tired and sit­ting judges, to the Prime Min­is­ter stat­ing that he wanted an in­ter­ro­ga­tion of them on grounds of cor­rup­tion. Fur­ther, he sparked off a de­bate with a fel­low judge in the Cal­cutta High Court in an open court over the grant­ing of bail to the ac­cused in Kolkata Fly­over case.

All these led to a seven-judge bench of the apex court to is­sue a con­tempt pro­ceed­ings against Jus­tice CS Kar­nan. It is in­ter­est­ing to note that even af­ter hold­ing him guilty, Jus­tice CS Kar­nan is try­ing to evade the law by not sur­ren­der­ing to the po­lice.

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