The Supreme Court today referred to a bench of seven-judges the plea of registrar general of Madras High Court against the order passed by Justice C S Karnan staying his own transfer. A bench of Justices Arun Mishra and D Y Chandrachud said it will be better the instant case was also dealt by the larger seven-judge bench which is also hearing a suo motu case against now Calcutta High Court judge Justice C S Karnan. Senior advocate K K Venugopal, appearing for Madras High Court, also supported the suggestion of the bench and said that it will be better if the seven-judge heard the matter. The bench then directed that the matter be listed before the seven-judge bench as all the documents on record were connected with the matter being considered by the larger bench.
Justice Karnan had written a letter dated December 21, 2016 to the Supreme Court Registry seeking permission for arguing his case in-person.
Earlier, the Registrar General of the Madras High Court had stated that 12 files of the high court were still with Justice Karnan and these were required to be returned.
He also submitted that the government accommodation, allotted to Justice Karnan at Chennai, had not been vacated, adding that the accommodation was needed as 14 new judges have been appointed and a judge cannot keep it for more than a month after he ceases to be a judge of the High Court of Tamil Nadu.
Justice Karnan had on February 15, 2016 stayed his transfer order after the apex court asked the chief justice of Madras High Court not to assign any judicial work to him.
The same day the apex court had suspended Justice Karnan’s order and made it clear that all administrative and judicial orders passed by him after the issuance of the proposal of his transfer from the Madras High Court to the Calcutta High Court shall remain stayed till further orders.
However, a week later, the judge had admitted that he had issued an “erroneous” order due to his “mental frustration resulting in the loss of his mental balance”.
The apex court had passed the directions on an application moved by the Registrar of the Madras High Court, seeking an order to restrain Justice Karnan from doing any judicial work.