Former Calcutta High Court judge C S Karnan was on Tuesday arrested by West Bengal police from the guest house of a private college in Tamil Nadu’s Coimbatore district. This comes a week after he retired from service. He was sentenced by the Supreme Court to six months jail term for contempt of court and had not been seen in public since then. He also became the first high court judge to have retired as a fugitive.
According to a top police official, Karnan had resisted the arrest and argued with the police before he was eventually taken into custody. “We have arrested former high court judge Karnan from south India,” a senior officer of the CID said. According to PTI, Three police teams from Kolkata were camping in Coimbatore for the past three days and traced him on the basis of his mobile phone calls. He will later be taken to Kolkata, the police said.
Earlier this month, the apex court had declined the 62-year-old’s plea seeking a stay on his conviction in a contempt of court case. The matter was mentioned before a vacation bench of justices Ashok Bhushan and Deepak Gupta. The bench had refused to interfere with the order or conviction.
While seeking a stay on his conviction, Karnan’s counsel had pointed out that the detailed order had not been made available yet. However, the court said: “Nothing has happened in the past one month. You wait for three or four more weeks and go to the special bench. We cannot help you.’’
In May, a seven-judge bench headed by Chief Justice J S Khehar, had sentenced Justice Karnan to six months’ jail for defying its orders and ordered the West Bengal police to take him into custody forthwith.
Enrolled as an advocate with the Bar Council of Tamil Nadu in 1983, Karnan was appointed a judge of the Madras High Court in 2009. He was transferred to the Calcutta High Court in 2016.
With inputs from PTI