Justice Karnan: Contempt notice a violation of natural justice principles

The controversial Calcutta High Court judge writes to Supreme Court Registrar General

Published - February 11, 2017 03:49 pm IST - NEW DELHI

Controversial Calcutta High Court judge, Justice C.S. Karnan, has written to the Registrar General of the Supreme Court, contending that the unprecedented suo motu contempt notice issued against him affects his fundamental rights of equality and dignity and a violation of the principles of natural justice.

Terming the order by a seven-judge Bench led by Chief Justice of India J.S. Khehar as “unusual”, Justice Karnan said the matter should either be immediately referred to the Parliament or taken up after the retirement of Chief Justice Khehar.

He said the courts have no power to take contempt proceedings against a sitting High Court judge.

The judge said the order issuing contempt notice against a sitting High Court judge without even hearing him first is “erroneous” and shows “distinct ill-will” towards him.

He said that he had only acted in the past as a “responsible judge” against “high irregularities and illegalities occurring at the judicial courts”.

The signed letter contains his official letterhead as a judge of the Calcutta High Court and is dated February 9, 2017.

On February 8, the seven-judge Bench sent a strong message that it will not hesitate to act against one of its own for the sake of upholding justice.

Attorney-General Mukul Rohatgi give his opinion that the Calcutta High Court judge should face contempt action for his “scurrilous” letters against sitting and retired High Court and Supreme Court judges.

The other judges on the Bench were Justices Dipak Misra, Jasti Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, Madan B. Lokur, P.C. Ghose and Kurian Joseph.

The Bench ordered Justice to appear in person before it on February 13 to defend himself. It further directed the judge to forthwith refrain from undertaking any judicial or administrative work and return all his official files to the Calcutta High Court registry.

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