SC summons HC judge for remarks against judiciary

SC summons HC judge for remarks against judiciary

In a first, the Supreme Court on Wednesday issued contempt notice to Calcutta High Court judge Justice C S Karnan for bringing “disrepute” to the judiciary through “disparaging remarks” of corruption against several judges of the apex court and high courts.

In another unprecedented move, a seven-judge bench presided over by Chief Justice J S Khehar also ordered personal presence of the judge before the apex court on February 13.

The court sought an explanation from Justice Karnan as to why contempt proceedings should not be initiated against him. Considering the matter serious, the bench said, “Since we are deciding such a case for the first time, we have to be as careful as we can be. What we can do, what we cannot do, if something can be done, what punishment can be imposed ...all these issues would be considered.”

The court also ordered that Justice Karnan would be restrained forthwith from handling any judicial or administrative work.

“He is also directed to return all judicial and administrative files in his possession to the Registrar General of the High Court immediately,” the bench, also comprising Justices Dipak Misra, J Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, Madan B Lokur, Pinaki Chandra Ghose and Kurian Joseph, said.

At the outset, Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi submitted that the communications sent by Justice Karnan were all in the open and embarrassing.

“It brings complete disrepute to administration of justice and this court must set an example so that citizens are aware that the court would not shy away from taking action against its own,” he said.

Rohatgi said contempt action should be initiated against the judge by the apex court in exercise of its power under Article 129 read with Article 142 of the Constitution.

The bench, which at one point of time wondered what if Justice Karnan denied having sent those letters, went on to seek his response.

The court also said it would require assistance from the senior members of the Bar in deciding the matter.

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