A seven-judge Bench of the seniormost judges of the Supreme Court on Wednesay, in an unprecedented move, issued contempt of court notice against sitting Calcutta HC judge C.S. Karnan for impeding justice administration and bringing discredit to the judicial institution of the country by writing scurrilous letters about sitting and retired judges.
The Bench, led by Chief Justice of India J.S. Khehar, ordered Justice Karnan to appear in person before it on February 13 to show cause to the court why contempt proceedings should not be taken against him.
The Bench comprised Justices Dipak Misra, J. Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, Madan B. Lokur, P.C. Ghose and Kurian Joseph.
The Bench directed Justice Karnan to forthwith refrain from undertaking any judicial or administrative work and return all his official files to the Calcutta HC Registry.
Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi submitted before the Bench that the time has come for the highest judiciary to take cognisance of Justice Karnan's alleged misconduct and protect the judiciary.
Mr. Rohatgi said the Supreme Court as the apex judiciary is empowered under Articles 129 read with its extraordinary powers under Article 142 (2) to punish a member of the High Court and subordinate judiciary for contempt.
Chief Justice Khehar said the the Supreme Court has never done this before and has to take every care before punishing a sitting judge. "We have to hear him and we have to hear everyone. I have received several letters from him. I know his signature. But we still want to hear him... if he denies that he had written these letters... We have to be as careful as we can," Chief Justice Khehar observed.