Justice Karnan moves Supreme Court for relief in contempt case
The Calcutta High Court judge has challenged the constitutional validity of contempt of court charges on him.
Calcutta High Court judge C S Karnan, who was awarded six-month jail by the Supreme Court on contempt charges, on Thursday approached the apex court seeking relief. Karnan asked the top court to recall its order holding him guilty of contempt of court. The bench headed by CJI Jagdish Singh Khehar has said it will consider Karnan's plea.
Karnan is the first sitting judge to be jailed in the history of Indian judiciary.
When the Chief Justice of India asked about the whereabouts of Justice Karnan, Advocate Mathews J Nedumpara, who mentioned the plea on behalf of Justice Karnan, said he is "very much in Chennai". Earlier in the day, Karnan's close aide and his legal adviser, claimed that he is evading arrest and may have left the country to return only if the President of India gives him an appointment.
When the advocate was also asked to show papers that authorised him to represent the controversial judge, he showed the notorised papers of authorisation for filing the plea on behalf of the judge to the bench. Nedumpara also said that 12 advocates on record had refused to represent Justice Karnan.
The plea on behalf of the judge was mentioned before the bench, which also comprised Justices Kurian Joseph, R F Nariman, U U Lalit and Abdul Nazeer, which had just concluded the day's hearing on the issue of triple talaq.
The 61-year-old judge had earned the top court's ire after he, as a judge of Madrash High Court, named 20 'corrupt judges' in the judiciary earlier this year and demanded an investigation alleging corruption.
He also wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, urging a probe. The Supreme Court then transferred him from the Madras High Court to Kolkata – a decision he critiqued as victimisation since he was a Dalit.
Justice Karnan had on May 4 declined to undergo a mental health checkup as ordered by the Supreme Court, telling a team of doctors he was "absolutely normal" and had a "stable mind".
The apex court has taken suo motu cognisance of various letters written by Justice Karnan against judges of the Madras high court and the Supreme Court and restrained him from exercising administrative and judicial power from February 8.
Justice Karnan appeared before the Supreme Court on March 31 in connection with the contempt proceeding, becoming the first high court judge to do so in the history of Indian judiciary.