Justice Karnan vs Supreme Court: saga of a defiant judge

Karnan orders 5-year RI for CJI, 7 other SC judges

Justice C.S. Karnan  

Calcutta High Court Judge C.S. Karnan on Monday issued an order sentencing eight Supreme Court judges to five years of “rigorous imprisonment” and imposed a fine of ₹1,00,000 each under the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act of 1989 and the amended Act of 2015.

The eight include members of the seven-judge Bench, headed by Chief Justice of India J.S. Khehar, which had in February issued a contempt order against him.

“Under Section 3, sub-Section (1) (m) of the SC/ST Atrocities Act, the accused 1 to 8 imposed to undergo a sentence of 5 years rigorous imprisonment and to pay a fine of ₹1,00,000/- each failing which to undergo further 6 months of imprisonment,” Justice Karnan said in his order issued during the day.

He awarded the same quantum of punishment under sub-Section (1) (r) and (1) (u) of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.

One week to pay fine

Justice Karnan said that the eight “shall undergo the sentence concurrently” and “fine amount shall be paid within a period of one week to the National Commission, Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes Constitutional body…New Delhi, from date of receipt of this order.”

He directed the Commissioner of Police, New Delhi, to “execute the order.”

Justice Karnan also said that the eight judges “are at liberty to approach Parliament.”

“Until such time, the accused 1 to 8 shall not hold office and not be permitted to deal in any cases on the file of the Supreme Court, besides any administrative orders,” said the order.

Referring to one of his earlier orders, he directed the eight to “surrender their respective passports” to the “Commissioner of Police or any other police officer attached to the head of the department of the New Delhi Police.”

‘Heinous crime’

In his latest order, Justice Karnan also accused the eight of committing a “heinous crime” and said that the “same can be treated as caste discrimination.”

“Hence, all the accused 1 to 8 have no locus standi to continue as judges of the Supreme Court,” he stated.

On May 4, Justice Karnan refused to undergo medical tests as directed by the Supreme Court and told the team of doctors, in a written response, that he is “absolutely normal and with a stable mind.”

In February, the Supreme Court had issued a contempt notice against Justice Karnan for allegedly degrading the judiciary.

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Printable version | Jan 23, 2022 3:30:49 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/kolkata/karnan-orders-5-year-ri-for-cji-7-other-sc-judges/article18410540.ece

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