Embattled Calcutta High Court judge Justice C S Karnan, evading arrest after being awarded six months jail term in a contempt case, today moved the Supreme Court for reliefs saying neither high courts, nor their judges are “subordinate” to it. Justice Karnan, whom the West Bengal police is looking for after being convicted in the contempt case, has filed a petition in the apex court.
“The petitioner, a judge of the High Court of Calcutta, is not under any disciplinary jurisdiction of either the CJI or the Bench of Seven Judges constituted by the CJI, as in the instant case,” the plea, filed through lawyer Mathews J Nedumpara, said. He sought the recall of the apex court order awarding him six month imprisonment saying that he could not be held guilty of ‘contempt of court’. He said if the allegations levelled by him were untrue, then “it would at the most amount to defamation”.
“Under our constitutional scheme, high courts are not subordinate to the Supreme Court; high courts are as much independent as the Supreme Court is, though their orders could be judicially challenged in the Supreme Court, the latter being a Court of Appeal,” the petition said.
Justice Karnan said the Contempt of Courts Act was a “cathartic jurisprudence which belonged to the Dark Ages, the era of inquisition and torture, distinct from the classical Roman Law which constitutes the foundation of the modern jurisprudence.” He has said the show cause notice issued by a seven judge bench to him on February 8 be declared “unconstitutional” as it was against “the principles of natural justice”. He has also sought a stay on all “further proceedings” pursuant to the May 9 order holding him guilty of contempt and aweard of six months jail term.