India apex court issues unprecedented warrant against sitting judge

India apex court issues unprecedented warrant against sitting judge

Kolkata Correspondent,

For the first time in independent India, the Supreme Court issued a warrant order against a sitting judge of the High Court. This was an unprecedented decision in the judicial history of India, said lawyers and former judges. The Supreme Court issued a bailable warrant on Friday against sitting Calcutta High Court Judge Justice CS Karnan. A seven-judge Constitution Bench headed by Chief Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar asked the West Bengal Director General of Police to serve the bailable warrant to Justice Karnan and summoned him to be present before the bench on March 31.

“There is no other alternative than to seek the presence of Justice CS Karnan. We issue bailable warrants of the sum of Rs 10,000 in the nature of personal bond to the satisfaction of the arresting officer,” the bench said in its order.

Justice Karnan had sent a representation to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, stating that some judges committed illegal activities, following which the apex court issued suo moto contempt without any inquiry, discussion, or findings.

Earlier, the Supreme Court bench had issued contempt notice to Justice Karnan for writing letters casting aspersions on several judges and he had been asked to appear before the court. But Justice Karnan has defied two orders seeking his personal appearance.

The Supreme Court rejected a request from Justice Karnan to meet CJI and other judges so as to discuss certain administrative issues which primarily seem to reflect allegations against certain judges.

Within a few hours of the judgement, Justice CS Karnan retaliated from his residence in New Town in Kolkata. He told journalists that the apex court doesn’t have the authority to issue such an order against a High Court judge.

Justice Karnan remained defiant and said the judges, who passed the order against him, have committed contempt of court.

According to him, no contempt either civil or criminal can be initiated against a sitting High Court judge under sections 2(c), 12 and 14 of the contempt of Courts Act or under Article 20 of the Constitution of India. He thinks that “only a motion of impeachment can be initiated against a sitting judge of the higher judiciary before the parliament after due enquiry under the Judge’s Enquiry Act”.

He asserted, “The order is arbitrary and it was deliberately issued against me in order to ruin my life, career.”

Justice Karnan has consistently claimed that he is a victim of caste bias and accused his colleagues of discriminating against him.

He has requested the president of India to recall the bailable warrant illegally issued by the apex court.

Justice Karnan held a court at his residence on Friday and ordered registration of a case under relevant sections of the SC/ST Act against CJI, the other six judges of the bench and Attorney General. He also directed CBI to probe a host of judges for corruption, rape and embezzlement of funds.

But Attorney General of India Mukul Rohatgi told the Court that Justice Karnan had refused to mend his ways and there is no let-up in his contemptuous behaviour as he recently passed an order against the Supreme Court order on the suicide note of former Arunachal Pradesh  chief minister Kalikho Pul in which allegations were levelled against certain judges.