SC summons sitting HC judge over contempt charge, asks to appear on February 13

Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi, on his part, submitted that the court must act against the judge because his communications have brought disrepute to the institution.

Written by Utkarsh Anand | New Delhi | Updated: February 9, 2017 2:49 am
supreme court, contempt proceedings, high court judge, sc against high court judge, sc contempt, contempt of court, high court judge, high court judge corruption, corruption, dalit abuse, dalit discrimination, chief justice of india, c s karnan, mukul rohtagi, india news A fortnight ago, Justice Karnan had written an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi (File Photo)

IN A FIRST, high court judge C S Karnan was Wednesday ordered by a seven-judge Supreme Court bench to show up on February 13 and respond to a show-cause notice of contempt of court for writing letters in which he levelled corruption charges against several serving and retired apex court and high court judges.

The bench, comprising Chief Justice of India J S Khehar and six senior-most judges of the apex court, also restrained Justice Karnan from dealing with any judicial or administrative work till further orders.

“Justice C S Karnan shall forthwith refrain from handling any judicial or administrative work, as may have been assigned to him, in furtherance of the office held by him. He is also directed to return, all judicial and administrative files in his possession, to the Registrar General of the High Court immediately,” stated the order.

The court said all letters and other communication that formed the basis of suo motu contempt of court proceedings shall be supplied to Justice Karnan on Monday to enable him to argue his case.

A fortnight ago, Justice Karnan had written an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, urging him to take action against what he described as “high corruption at the judiciary”. In his letter dated January 23, the judge furnished “an initial list of corrupt judges”, and named 20 judges of Supreme Court and high courts.

On Wednesday, while seeking the judge’s personal presence, the bench said issuance of a notice of contempt to an HC judge was a “matter of vital importance” since there had been no such precedent and that whatever the seven-judge bench now rules would be the law for years to come.

The Constitution bench, which also included Justices Dipak Misra, J Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, Madan B Lokur, P C Ghose and Kurian Joseph, added that the court has to be “very careful” in the manner it proceeds in this matter and sought assistance of Attorney General (AG) Mukul Rohatgi and senior lawyer K K Venugopal.

Earlier, the AG, who is the officer of the court for prosecuting suo motu contempt proceedings, urged the bench to proceed against Justice Karnan as his communications were “completely scandalous, calculated and brought disrepute to the institution”.

“The time has come for this court to set an example that it would not hesitate to act even against one of its own if a dent is sought to be caused in the administration of justice,” said Rohatgi, adding that the high court chief justice should be “directed” to withdraw all judicial and administrative work from Justice Karnan.

The bench, however, said it would not need to involve the “poor” chief justice of the high court when the top court could pass such an order on its own.

On February 13, Justice Karnan has another case in the apex court to argue. In this matter, he had stayed his own transfer from Madras high court. The Supreme Court was compelled to step in last year after he passed a judicial order not just staying his own transfer, mooted by the apex court collegium, but also sought an explanation from the CJI over the move.

The top court had then restrained him from issuing any judicial order – suo motu or otherwise – and imposed a blanket stay on all directions issued by him after February 12, 2016, when the Collegium moved to transfer him. He had a few months later joined Calcutta high court when the President set a deadline..

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First Published on: February 9, 2017 12:31 am
  1. A
    Abhinav Gour
    Feb 8, 2017 at 10:47 am
    Wheres democracy he has the right to speak the truth whoever it may be i also say judiciary in india is corrupt right from the top no doubt so many criminals on the name of bail r roaming free for eg tak lalu infacy they freed a thug in Up n because of piblic pressure he landed back on jail put those accused in a furnace in the name of democracy innocent r siffering PM should order an investigation against those accused than accusing the one who brought this out to loght demonitisation is not enough
    1. A
      Feb 8, 2017 at 7:49 am
      Has there been any inquiry into the correctness of allegations made by this judge? This report of Indian Express reads like a character ination.
      1. B
        Feb 8, 2017 at 8:08 am
        First let us see to which caste Karnan belongs;br/gt;lt;br/gt;Next to which ethnicitylt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;Next the process of elimination:lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;Criteria 1: Is Karnan a brahmin? No. Then initiate contempt proceedings. If yes, then plant news in the media that he is a philanthropist, social worker to sway the opinion of Indian;br/gt;lt;br/gt;Criteria 2: Does Karnan have records in the IB files that he is a violator of MANU's Law(not Indian Law). If No go to criteria 3, else ask IB THUGS to meet Karnan and explain him his violations and subsequent exposure and shaming and induce suicidelt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;Criteria 3: Does NTRO have the video recordings of Karnan's extra marital activities. If Yes, send IB THUGS to ask him to submit himself. Else release the video to public like ND Tiwari.
        1. S
          Feb 8, 2017 at 9:20 am
          Karnan is one of the upright , non-corrupt and straight forward judge in India. There is a systematic ploy emplo by high caste people(Brahmins)in every government department in India to tarnish the image of SC/ST/OBC officers so that these people will not get top posts in India.
          1. T
            Tax payer
            Feb 8, 2017 at 10:20 am
            Is there no Whistle Blower Protection Law in India?? What are our Parlamentarians doing?? Mooching of Tax Payer money?? We are the sheep and cattle of India...
            1. V
              Feb 8, 2017 at 8:04 am
              To be fair the high court judge who alleged the corruption among the fellow judiciary must be asked his reason for doing so.After studying the answer action can be taken against him or an investigation can be conducted to ascertain the veracity of his claim. lt;br/gt;The accused judge must be given every opportunity to defend his stand in a fair and free manner.Let him toss everything up and let it fall wherever it fall and take it from there.This could be the first step to bring transparency to the legal system.Judges are also citizens of india and are only allowed to interpret the law not above the law.
              1. D
                Feb 8, 2017 at 11:02 am
                Moderator never allows even straightforward comments to be posted. Not sure if there is even a moderator. This is the newspaper that claims fearless journalism.
                1. R
                  Rathnakar Shetty
                  Feb 8, 2017 at 3:55 pm
                  Justice Karnan would have pointed one or two judges with better evident corruption. This is too vague his attempt. Serious answerability required from Judicial and should be ready to reform.
                  1. G
                    Gandhi Thangarajoo
                    Feb 8, 2017 at 8:03 am
                    allegation against corruption must be investigated by anybody
                    1. M
                      Feb 8, 2017 at 7:05 am
                      This happen when u induct low IQ quota people in judiciary
                      1. P
                        Pakku Mudli.
                        Feb 8, 2017 at 7:31 am
                        This can also be a conspiracy of high IQ upper caste judiciary to punish Dalit judge as they have been doing for ages in different fields. Anyway the comments immediately brings out that how upper caste looks at Dalits.
                        1. A
                          Anand Ch
                          Feb 8, 2017 at 6:40 am
                          Why we take long time to act against those who are impulsive and not fit for the positions they hold ?
                          1. R
                            Feb 8, 2017 at 8:33 am
                            When you speak the truth thats what happens be if its your insution or any other. Everybody knows the corruption in the judicial system in India even a former CJ also said that in an interview about the corruption in the system.
                            1. E
                              Feb 8, 2017 at 7:02 am
                              ;A high court judge can be removed only through impeachment by the Parliament after both the Houses p resolution of removal of the judge concerned.' This para from the above news item sums it up. Rest, they say, is all history. I reiterate 'A judge from a High Court or from the Supreme Court can't be removed except for Impeachment. In the annals of Judicial history, for the first time, notice of contempt against a sitting High Court judge has been issued. Remember Impeachment is the only process to remove a siting High Court judge as envisaged under Art. 124 (4) of our Consution. In Sanskrit,' tatah kim, tatah kim, tatah kim, tatah kim' (what then, what then, what then, what then.
                              1. O
                                Feb 8, 2017 at 7:21 am
                                Judges are also subject to disciplinary proceedings in repeated instances of gross misconducts. Invoking a provision or two of the SC/ST Atrocities Act in some cases may be a clever cunning strategy to deflect due justice or to settle some personal scores.or by way of blackmailing tactics by some non-performers or gross under-performers.apart from their repeated indulgence in serious misconduct instances.
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