Justice Karnan vs Supreme Court: saga of a defiant judge

Karnan petitions Ram Nath Kovind seeking remission of sentence

C.S. Karnan   | Photo Credit: M. Vedhan

Former Calcutta High Court Judge C.S. Karnan’s petition to the new President Ram Nath Kovind seeking remission of his six months prison sentence has been e-mailed to the Rashtrapati Bhavan by his legal team on Tuesday. Justice (retd.) Karnan is currently serving the prison sentence awarded to him by the Supreme Court for contempt of court, at the Presidency Jail in Kolkata. Earlier Justice (retd.) Karnan’s legal team had said that they aim to make it the “first petition submitted physically and electronically” to the new President.


“We have e-mailed Justice (retd.) Karnan’s petition to the new President, to his secretary, additional secretary and private secretary at 11 am today (Tuesday),” Justice Karnan’s lawyer A.C.Philip told The Hindu. He also said that so far they have not received any response. “We will also be sending the petition by post today (Tuesday) to the President,” said Mr. Philip.

However, Justice (retd.) Karnan’s lawyers will not be able to meet the new President and submit the petition in person on Tuesday due to the swearing-in ceremony. “We tried to get an appointment today with the President or his secretary but were told from the Rashtrapati Bhavan that it will not be possible due to the swearing-in ceremony,” said Mr. Philip. He also said that they will be trying to get an appointment with Mr. Kovind on Wednesday.

“Inscrutable are the ways of the almighty. It could be His will that Justice (retd.) C.S. Karnan’s be the first representation which Your Excellency as the President of India on the very first day of assumption of office. And that too, seeking the exercise of your Excellency’s extraordinary jurisdiction under Article 72 of the Constitution of India,” stated the petition.


Referring to the President’s power to grant pardon or to suspend, remit or commute sentences under Article 72 of the Constitution the petition urges the new President to either remit or suspend the sentence awarded to Justice(retd.) Karnan till the hearing of his appeal to “recall/review” the Supreme Court’s order.

In February, the Supreme Court issued a contempt of court notice against him for allegedly degrading the judicial institution. Justice (retd.) Karnan had written to the Prime Minister and allegedly accused several retired and sitting Supreme Court and High Court judges of corruption.

A seven-judge Bench, led by the Chief Justice of India J.S. Khehar, heard Attorney General Mukul Rohtagi who said that Justice (retd.) Karnan should face contempt proceedings for his “scurrilous” letters against sitting and retired High Court and Supreme Court judges.

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Printable version | Jan 20, 2022 5:39:22 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnan-petitions-ram-nath-kovind-seeking-remission-of-sentence/article19357819.ece

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