Calcutta High Court judge Justice C S Karnan, whom the Supreme Court has sentenced to six months’ prison for contempt and has not been seen in public since then, retired from service on Monday. A customary farewell by the high court administration to a retiring judge could not be held as Justice Karnan was not present.
“A farewell given by the administration is held, which is attended by judges and senior lawyers and speeches are given as per custom. This was not held as he was not present,” Calcutta High Court registrar general Sugato Majumdar said. Asked about clearance of Justice Karnan’s dues on retirement, Majumdar said “all formalities will be completed as per law.”
A retiring judge is also given a farewell by the Bar (lawyers), though not mandatory. “Had Justice Karnan been here, the Bar would have considered. There is a procedure by which invitation is sent to a retiring judge and if he accepts, necessary arrangements are made.
“Since we do not know where he is, the question does not arise,” Additional Advocate General Abhratosh Chowdhury told PTI. “Owing to the unprecedented condition prevailing after the Supreme Court order and owing to his absence, a farewell could not be considered,” Calcutta High Court Bar Association president Suranjan Dasgupta said.
On May 9, a seven-judge bench headed by Chief Justice J S Khehar, had sentenced Justice Karnan to six months’ jail for contempt of court and ordered the West Bengal police to take him into custody forthwith. The controversial judge has not been arrested yet.
A representation was made to the President on behalf of Justice Karnan on May 21 seeking suspension of the Supreme Court order sentencing him to imprisonment, according to a lawyer representing him. The lawyers took the ground in the application that Justice Karnan will be unable to exercise any remedy if he is arrested.