Justice Karnan fails to appear in SC

Justice Karnan fails to appear in SC

Calcutta High Court judge Justice C S Karnan on Monday failed to appear before the Supreme Court in contempt proceedings initiated against him for making allegations of corruption against sitting and retired judges of the apex court and high courts.

A seven-judge bench presided over by the Chief Justice of India noted Justice Karnan’s absence and wondered if the court could issue non-bailable warrant against him if he failed to show up again.

As Justice Karnan failed to appear and also did not authorise anyone to represent him in response to the apex court’s February 8 notice, the bench said, “We will have to wait for his reply first. We have two options, once we have granted him time to show cause, we will give him some more time. Second option is that we will issue a bailable or a non-bailable warrant against him”.

The court granted three weeks to Justice Karnan to prepare a reply to the show-cause notice under the Contempt of Courts Act and present his case.

During the hearing, Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi cited a letter purportedly written by Justice Karnan to the court registry, making several accusations against the judges on the bench that had issued the contempt notice. Justice Karnan had accused the judges of caste bias and sought the matter to be referred to Parliament.

Brought down dignity

“He has brought down the dignity of this court and is acting in a fashion that might shake the public confidence in the system. Let formal charges be framed against him and ask him to respond,” Rohatgi said.

The bench, however, said that the stage of framing charges had not been reached and that Justice Karnan has been supplied with all the contentious documents to enable him to respond to the contempt notice in its entirety. The court fixed the matter for hearing on March 10.

In a separate matter, senior advocate K K Venugopal, who represented the Madras High Court’s registrar general, complained that Justice Karnan had been writing “obnoxious” and “obscene” letters to a sitting judge, accusing him of sexually assaulting a law clerk.

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