SC steps in after Madras HC judge stays own transfer

The apex court passed the order on an application moved by the Registrar of Madras High Court, who is also private secretary to the Chief Justice.

Written by Utkarsh Anand | New Delhi | Updated: February 16, 2016 2:47 am
Supreme court, supreme court to madras high court, C S karnan, justice C S Karnan, supreme court on justice karnan, supreme court on Justice C S Karnan, The Supreme Court on Monday asked the CJ of Madras Hogh Court not to assign any judicial work to Justice C S Karnan.

IN A FIRST, the Supreme Court has restrained a sitting High Court judge from issuing any judicial order — suo motu or otherwise — and imposed a blanket stay on all directions issued by him after February 12 when the Collegium moved to transfer him.

The apex court was compelled to issue the unusual order Monday after Madras High Court judge Justice C S Karnan suo motu “stayed” his transfer order, issued by the Chief Justice of India T S Thakur on February 12.

Justice Karnan also sought a response from the CJI regarding his transfer while asking him “not to interfere” with his jurisdiction. Justice Karnan questioned the authority of the CJI as the head of the Collegium to issue transfer orders for “better administration.”

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All Supreme Court and high court judges are empowered under the Constitution to issue suo motu orders. The Supreme Court and the CJI exercise administrative authority over the high courts. However, a high court or an apex court judge can be removed only through impeachment by Parliament and not through any administrative or judicial order.

On Monday, a bench of Justices J S Khehar and R Banumathi had initially allowed the Madras High Court chief justice to stop assigning any judicial work to Justice Karnan in view of his transfer to Kolkata. The bench had taken into account an affidavit filed by the registrar of the high court, stating Justice Karnan shouted and hurled the “choicest of abuses” at him when he went to inform the judge about the transfer.

At this point, representing the High Court Chief Justice and the Registry, senior lawyer K K Venugopal informed the bench that Justice Karnan may exercise his suo motu power and stay the transfer order during the day.

But the bench responded that such concerns can be taken care of as and when any contentious orders are passed by Justice Karnan. But soon, Venugopal rushed back to inform the bench that Justice Karnan has stayed the CJI’s order after taking suo motu cognisance.

Justice Khehar then updated his two-hour-old order to state: “Having taken note of the situation, in our view it would be appropriate that Hon’ble Mr Justice C S Karnan should hear and dispose of only such matters as are specially assigned to him by Hon’ble Chief Justice of the Madras High Court. It will be open to Hon’ble Chief Justice of the High Court, not to assign any further administrative/judicial work to him. This would imply that no other orders shall be passed by Hon’ble Mr Justice C S Karnan, suo motu or otherwise, in any matter not specially assigned to him.” The bench also made it clear: “The operation of all or any administrative/judicial order(s) passed by Hon’ble Mr Justice C S Karnan, after the issuance of the proposal of his transfer from the Madras High Court dated 12.02.2016 (unless specially assigned to him, by Hon’ble the Chief Justice), shall remain stayed till further orders.”

In his order, Justice Karnan referred to a judgment by a nine-judge Supreme Court bench in 1993, better known as Second judges case, to hold that the CJI’s proposal of transfer goes against this judgement.

“I am apt to constrain Your Lordship’s Order after invoking Article 226 of the Constitution of India, by staying Your Lordship’s tentative recommendation Order dated 12.02.2016… I request Your Lordship not to interfere in my jurisdiction, as I am in the process of finalizing an order on merits.” Justice Karnan told the CJI. He also requested the CJI to submit a written statement on the issue through his subordinates by April 29.

Justice Karnan sent a copy of the judicial order to the President, Prime Minister, Union Law Minister and to other political leaders, including Sonia Gandhi, Ram Vilas Paswan and Mayawati, as well as National Commission for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.

Justice Karnan is known for his penchant for controversies. In June 2013, he ruled that if a couple of legal age indulges in sexual gratification, it will be considered a valid marriage and they can be termed husband and wife. After facing backlash from the public and the legal fraternity, he issued a gag order to restrain others from making adverse comments.

He once addressed a press conference at his chamber, narrating the “humiliation” and “embarrassment” he faced in the High Court. He alleged that a fellow judge sitting cross-legged next to him at a meeting had touched him with his shoes deliberately before apologising, and that two other judges looked on “smilingly”. He has also lodged complaints with National Commission for SC/ST claiming he was abused by fellow judges because he was a Dalit.

 

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  1. K
    Kumarpushp
    Feb 15, 2016 at 11:58 pm
    My hat off to Justice karnan for his courage who had tale CJI of India who is bending his back in front of Modi Government.well done mR karnan .120 million dalits and 120 million muslims are proud of your stand against the hindus and there hindu led government in India.
    Reply
    1. M
      Mush Tractor
      Feb 15, 2016 at 9:54 am
      Great going, we need more anarchists, since we celebrate anarchists who call the a psycopath in the name of democracy, since we celebrate anarchists who call for the destruction of India in the name of freedom of speech. Let us rejoice at our democracy and freedom of speech. Any objection to foreigners calling us a functioning anarchy.
      Reply
      1. P
        Prabhakar Somayaji
        Feb 15, 2016 at 10:07 am
        showing the poor on the streets, such sharks are enjoying the benefits showing their cast. the reservation to be discontinued beyond one generation and to be continued for the needy poor based on their income only,whereas in this case the honorable judge is certainly crossing the limits and making the mockery of democracy.
        Reply
        1. d
          drywpande@yahoo
          Feb 16, 2016 at 3:29 am
          Disobedience by the lower courts was routinely taken lightly and no known efforts were made to implement verdicts. The only way to know of disobedience was to wait till the similar cases come up to highest levels. Multiple peions were entertained in the name of freedom and frivolous arguments. For every verdict you will equal number of opposite verdicts in the name of subject and situations. There is a serious need of control indiscipline in this sector.
          Reply
          1. G
            Girish Tanna
            Feb 16, 2016 at 8:05 am
            Now time has come when the Parliament enact an Act to bring the High Courts and Supreme Court Judges under disciplinary periphery. The holy concept behind total freedom of these judges is to perform their duties without fear and/or fear. But it seems the concept failed. There are cases where some of these judges faced corruption charges, even no impeachment resolution ped by the Parliament.
            Reply
            1. G
              gopal
              Feb 16, 2016 at 5:16 am
              NJAC was stuck by supermen court so that they can decide among themselves who can become a judge without outside intervention. Time to pay the price??
              Reply
              1. G
                Gopal
                Feb 16, 2016 at 2:42 am
                Unlike your suggestion, this is not certainly not the first instance of an high court judge in conflict with the supreme court. Many years ago, the chief justice of Rajasthan high court ped orders against the supreme court. The kangaroo courts are a creation of the supreme court itself, as it has abrogated to itself powers far beyond the consution (for example, the consution has not the slightest mention of the "collegium"). Today every judge takes suo moto actions and hears PILs. Judges have threatened contempt if they can't get train reservation. All this while cases pile up while judges are busy lecturing from the podium (the CJI of India is a master of that).
                Reply
                1. K
                  Karthik Venkatesan
                  Feb 16, 2016 at 7:15 pm
                  Justice Karnan carries Rahul hi's support. It is no more a fight between Justice Karnan and the Supreme Court Chief Justice. It is now a lively fight between Narendra Modi and Rahul hi. In the end Rahul hi will win because he is a Dalit leader
                  Reply
                  1. A
                    anand
                    Feb 16, 2016 at 10:55 am
                    after justice kumarasamy , justice karnan will be the most well known to Indian public for all the wrong reasons.
                    Reply
                    1. M
                      M.P.Rao
                      Feb 16, 2016 at 6:53 am
                      Judges are supposed to set standards in public life. But what happened in Chhenai Highcourt is to say the least is deplorable.Cant they settle the matter internally?
                      Reply
                      1. N
                        Nagarajan
                        Feb 16, 2016 at 5:32 am
                        Arrogated or abrogated?
                        Reply
                        1. L
                          Lakshminarayanan
                          Feb 16, 2016 at 5:05 pm
                          Very Sad State of Judiciary. I think Supreme Court has given room to create such action by a Hight Court Judge.Hopefully there will be no more such incidents in future.
                          Reply
                          1. b
                            brainles.brahmins
                            Feb 16, 2016 at 2:22 am
                            Destroy brahminism in india. Kick out all brahmins back to Iran!
                            Reply
                            1. b
                              brainles.brahmins
                              Feb 16, 2016 at 2:19 am
                              Who the FK is the Supreme Corrupt(SCI) of India to dictate terms to Tamils?
                              Reply
                              1. D
                                Deepak
                                Feb 16, 2016 at 3:31 am
                                Only shamelessly bold will act in this brazen shameless manner. Don't know how he became a High court judge. Is Kolkatta not an important place in India ? How can a person who is considered inefficient be transferred to another equally important metropolitan and for that matter even a small village is important. In a it is good that he decided to cancel his own transfer and in the process made himself jobless. Idle mind is devil's workshop, so the SC must keep this inefficient fellow occupied with some daily homework
                                Reply
                                1. D
                                  Deepak
                                  Feb 16, 2016 at 3:34 am
                                  your name sums up you thoughts and words.
                                  Reply
                                  1. P
                                    Pavan Tiwari.
                                    Feb 16, 2016 at 8:01 am
                                    Let us not forget that Justice Karnan is also a product of Collegium system. Judges consuting the collegium must have foreseen these special abilities in Justice Karnan before recommending him for judgeship. Long live Indian Judiciary.
                                    Reply
                                    1. P
                                      Poda De
                                      Feb 15, 2016 at 2:57 pm
                                      So, there is another impertinent Kejariwala in Judiciary also, Vare Wha !
                                      Reply
                                      1. S
                                        Shankar Shankar
                                        Feb 16, 2016 at 3:24 am
                                        This is a clear case where draconian laws enacted by the earlier government are misused against others using caste as a weapon. Now it is high time to s all draconian laws like Anti Dowry act, law on Atrocities against SC/STs Act, Goondas Act etc, where misuse of these laws are more than 99% and actual uusage is 1%. Let these acts enacted by any government are not suitable time for a democratic set up. Who are these people who asks one community to leave the country? Who cares for their utterings? This world belongs to every individual and others are at liberty to live with them or die.
                                        Reply
                                        1. S
                                          S.Bhatnagar
                                          Feb 16, 2016 at 7:46 am
                                          Ideal Collegium Systems Every Citizen Of India has right to know that -- No one can be a judge for his /her own cause as affirmed by following Supreme Court Judgement : Supreme Court Judgement in the matter of -- Uma Nath Pandey and Ors vs State Of U.P.and Anr on 16 March, 2009 (CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 471 OF 2009 Arising out of SLP (Crl.) No.6382 of 2007) – Full Text available in www. indiankanoon “ Para 17. How then have the principles of natural justice been interpreted in the Courts and within what limits are they to be confined? Over the years by a process of judicial interpretation two rules have been evolved as representing the principles of natural justice in judicial process, including therein quasi-judicial and administrative process. They consute the basic elements of a fair hearing, having their roots in the innate sense of man for fair-play and justice which is not the preserve of any particular race or country but is shared in common by all men. The first rule is `nemo judex in causa sua' or `nemo debet esse judex in propria causa sua' as stated in (1605) 12 Co.Rep.114 that is, `no man shall be a judge in his own cause'. Coke used the form `aliquis non debet esse judex in propria causa quia non potest esse judex at pars' (Co.Litt. 1418), that is, `no man ought to be a judge in his own case, because he cannot act as Judge and at the same time be a party'. The form `nemo potest esse simul actor et judex', that is, `no one can be at once suitor and judge' is also at times used. The second rule is `audi alteram partem', that is, `hear the other side'. At times and particularly in continental countries, the form `audietur at altera pars' is used, meaning very much the same thing. A corollary has been deduced from the above two rules and particularly the audi alteram partem rule, namely `qui aliquid statuerit parte inaudita alteram actquam licet dixerit, ” haud acquum facerit' that is, `he who shall decide anything without the other side having been heard, although he may have said what is right, will not have been what is right' (See Bosewell's case (1605) 6 Co.Rep. 48-b, 52-a) or in other words, as it is now expressed, `justice should not only be done but should manifestly be seen to be done'. Whenever an order is struck down as invalid being in violation of principles of natural justice, there is no final decision of the case and fresh proceedings are left upon. All that is done is to vacate the order ailed by virtue of its inherent defect, but the proceedings are not terminated.
                                          Reply
                                          1. S
                                            Sudipto Mukherjee
                                            Feb 16, 2016 at 3:35 am
                                            Judges need to be reined in. This is a high court judge, it could well happen to a SC judge as well. And playing the Dalit card is the easiest thing to do, it attracts sympathy and attention. Thanks to the media and our reservation policies.
                                            Reply
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