Madras High Court judge alleges caste bias in collegium systemhttps://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/madras-high-court-judge-alleges-caste-bias-in-collegium-system/

Madras High Court judge alleges caste bias in collegium system

While calling the collegium system of judges’ selection a “doubtful system that promoted only high caste candidates”, his letter said that the system had to be rooted out “lock, stock and barrel’’.

Justice C S Karnan, the Madras High Court judge who threatened contempt of court proceedings against Chief Justice Sanjay K Kaul in May last year, has now written three letters alleging caste bias in the collegium system, allocation of “dummy portfolios” to him and also demanding a special audit of the HC accounts.

“It is with a heavy heart that I am desirous of proceeding on a long leave as a result of the harassment and belittlement meted out to me by your lordship,” Justice Karnan wrote to CJ Kaul on Saturday.

While calling the collegium system of judges’ selection a “doubtful system that promoted only high caste candidates”, his letter said that the system had to be rooted out “lock, stock and barrel’’.

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In his first letter to CJ Kaul, Justice Karnan wrote: “Since your lordship (Chief Justice Kaul) is solely in charge of the Madras High Court, and invested with administrative power, your lordship has elected to allot me insignificant/dummy portfolios while those juniors to me have been allotted significant assignments, which is tantamount to belittling my capacity as a judge of many years in this august court. Being a Dalit, do you expect me to take such treatment lying down?”

In his second letter, he said it is “most obvious that selection adopted by the collegium system is only to entertain their own favourites comprising close relatives, distant relatives and in the absence of the above mentioned choices, then the selection would go to close associates and good friends”. His third letter demands an audit to determine whether the CJ and registrar-general were eligible to utilise government funds. Justice Karnan was appointed additional judge in Madras HC in 2009.