Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi on Monday termed the action of Calcutta High Court judge Justice C S Karnan, who has refused to present himself before the SC in in a contempt case, as “reckless”, and said he is making “scurrilous” allegations against brother judges. The Attorney General, who was asked by the Supreme Court to assist it in the matter, also said that action against Justice Karnan was necessary as “you can’t destroy the fundamentals of the institution”.
In an unprecedented order on March 10, the Supreme Court had issued bailable warrants against Karnan to secure his presence before it on March 31 in a contempt case. “I am greatly saddened by what is happening. A sitting judge of a High Court, who is supposed to be a matured individual, is acting in a reckless manner making scurrilous allegations against brother judges of the High Court, against sitting judges of the Supreme Court,” the AG said while talking to a private news channel in New Delhi.
He also said Justice Karnan’s claim of being discriminated against for being a Dalit is without substance and added that judges are appointed on the basis of merit and not caste or religion. “To talk about the Dalit card and all that is absolutely without substance. We have judges from all walks of life. Whether minority, majority, caste, religion. We never had this kind of thing. Judges are not appointed on the basis of caste or religion. They are appointed on the basis of merit or standing,” Rohatgi said.
He also said the judiciary has to solve it and the government has nothing to do with it. “The government has nothing to do with this. It is a matter really internally of the judiciary. The judiciary has to solve it and obviously the message must go out loud and clear that if it happens, these kind of things happen within the judiciary, the judiciary must come out openly and ensure that it will act in the same manner or maybe a little stricter, if it happens amongst you,” he said.
The top law officer also said that for a country which follows the rule of the law all are supposed to obey the order of the court. “It’s very saddening and actually I am at a loss of words to explain such conduct. Not appearing before the court, defying the court. See, for a country which follows the rule of law, everybody has to obey the order of a court.
“The higher you go, greater the obedience. Whatever the message he was sending, this way the institution will crumble. The rule of law will break down and it will be complete anarchy,” he said.