Appealing to the Delhi High Court to declare the Supreme Court’s order against him under Contempt of Court Act, 1971, as unconstitutional, former Calcutta High Court judge C S Karnan’s counsels Friday argued in court that if an order of the Supreme Court is null and void, it can be challenged in any high court or subordinate court. After submitting the writ petition before the bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar, Karnan’s counsels Mathews Nedumpara and A C Philip contended that such an order could be challenged under statutory proceedings.
If there was no statute/law, then a suit before a civil court can also be initiated, the counsel said. Calling it unconstitutional, the counsel challenged the Contempt of Court Act, 1971, under which contempt proceedings were initiated against Karnan.
The High Court is yet to admit the petition. Karnan is at present serving jail sentence, awarded by the apex court.
The former judge’s counsel came for some stick from the High Court after he cited an apex court verdict to support some arguments. “You are misquoting Supreme Court verdict…. In case of misstatement further contempt can be initiated…” the court observed.
The counsel then requested the court to declare the Contempt of Court Act as unconstitutional. The bench said that whenever such appeal seeking any declarations is made, the court is “not duty-bound” to provide it.
The bench said that the Supreme Court is vested with the power to initiate contempt proceedings. The counsel then said, “The validity of the Contempt of Court Act has not been examined by any court….only prayer was to let notice be issued to the Centre” to examine the Act.
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