The Supreme Court today asked the Chief justice of Madras High Court not to assign any judicial work to its controversial judge, Justice C S Karnan, who has been transferred to the Calcutta High Court.
The apex court passed the order on an application moved by the Registrar of Madras High Court, who is also private secretary to the Chief Justice, seeking an order to restrain Justice Karnan from doing any judicial work.
The apex court noted the application moved by senior advocate K K Venugopal which said Justice Karnan, on receipt of the transfer order, had suo motu decided to pass an order against his own transfer and had listed the matter for today.
Taking note of this submission, a bench comprising Justices J S Khehar and R Banumathi said, "We consider it just and appropriate to allow the Chief Justice of the High Court not to assign any judicial work to him (Justice Karnan)."
The bench which perused the affidavit filed by the Registrar, said "consequent upon the copy of this order is furnished to Justice Karnan by the Registrar of the HC, it will be open to Justice Karnan to enter his appearance before this court, if desired by him, in the pending matter (before the apex court). If he does so, it will be at his own cost."
Immediately after the lunch recess, Venugopal again mentioned the matter before the apex court bench seeking modification of the earlier order, saying Justice Karnan had passed a fresh order today and had sought response of the Chief Justice of India.
Justice Khehar initially said the earlier order of the court takes care of everything but later agreed to Venugopal's plea that it needs to be modified keeping in view the recent order passed by Justice Karnan.
"I will correct it (order passed earlier in the day) and update it immediately after it is approved by Justice Banumathi," the judge said.
The apex court had on May 11 last year stayed an interim order passed by Justice Karnan, allegedly undermining the authority of High Court Chief Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul, in a case relating to appointment of officers of lower judiciary.
"We restrain the judge who initiated the suo-motu proceedings relating to the suo motu writ petition pending before Madras High Court from either hearing or issuing any direction in the said writ petition," the apex court had said.
It had further said that in all other matters connected with it, there shall not be any interference by any person or authority or judges in completing the process initiated by the High Court for selection and appointment of junior judicial officers in Tamil Nadu till disposal of the special leave petition.
Justice Karnan had triggered a row by threatening to file contempt of court proceedings against Justice Kaul and a case against him under the provisions of the SC/ST Atrocities (Prevention) Act, in unsigned letters to the HC Chief Justice.
Justice Karnan had stated in the letters that he was suo motu staying the administrative order of the Chief Justice with regard to selection of civil judges. The Madras High Court registry had moved the Supreme Court seeking stay of the order passed by Justice Karnan.
In the plea, the high court registry had said that on April 16, Justice Karnan suo motu passed an order, questioning the nomination of one of the judges, Justice V Dhanapalan, to the selection committee for the process for recruitment of 162 Civil Judges which had commenced by the Tamil Nadu Public Service Commission on August 26, 2014.
The petition had also questioned the judge for giving a direction to the Chairman, National SC/ST Commission, to initiate proceedings to conduct a detailed enquiry regarding chief justice's harassment to him of being a dalit judge.