In a first, a bench of seven Supreme Court judges started contempt of court proceedings against Calcutta HC Judge CS Karnan for levelling allegations of corruption against Madras HC chief justice and other judges repeatedly. The top court has asked Karnan to appear in person before it and explain as to why contempt proceedings be not initiated against him.
The issuance of the notice is historic because this is the first time when a constitutional court has started the contempt of court proceedings against a judge of the SC or HC. A high court judge can only be removed through impeachment by the Parliament. "Issue notice to Justice C S Karnan. Returnable on 13 February. Shree Justice C S Karnan shall forthwith refrain from handling any judicial or administrative work as may have been assigned to him," the bench headed by Chief Justice J S Khehar said.
Seven judge bench of Supreme court issues contempt notice to Calcutta HC Judge CS Karnan, initiating suo moto criminal proceedings
— ANI (@ANI_news) February 8, 2017
The Times of India reports, the proceedings were listed on Wednesday by the bench comprising J Chelameswar, Dipak Misra, Ranjan Gogoi, P C Ghose, Kurian Joseph and Madan B Lokur. and led by Chief Justice of India JS Khehar. The Supreme Court said, we must be as careful as we can and it has to be established whether Justice Karnan wrote those communications.
At the outset, Attorney General (AG) Mukul Rohatgi referred to the nature of public communications allegedly undertaken by Justice Karnan and said they are "slanderous" and "disparaging" to the system of administration of justice.
The bench was formed after a bench of Justices Arun Mishra and Amitava Roy, Bloomberg Quint said, last month accepted Justice Karnan's plea to argue his case in person by accepting his initial request to discharge his advocate S Gowthaman.
In 2015, Karnan had threatened contempt of court proceedings against Chief Justice Sanjay K Kaul, whose name has been recommended by for the appointment as a judge of the SC.
According to The Times Of India, Karnan had accused Kaul of interfering in his work and had sought a CBI probe into the alleged forged educational qualification of another HC judge.The judge had gone on to allege that he was being victimised on the basis of caste bias as he was a Dalit and that the Madras HC chief justice was harassing him.
Earlier, the Registrar General of the Madras High Court had said that around 12 files of the high court were still with Justice Karnan and had to be returned.
According to The Indian Express, around a fortnight ago, Justice Karnan had written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, urging him to take action against what he termed as “high corruption at the judiciary”. He had gone onto name around 20 judges of the apex court and the Madras High Court in the letter dated 23 January. Earlier in 2016, Karnan had also sought an answer from the Chief Justice of India's over the decision to transfer him.
With inputs from agencies
Updated Date: Feb 08, 2017 12:18 PM