Justice Karnan vs Supreme Court: saga of a defiant judge

Supreme Court registry dismisses Justice Karnan’s writ petition

Justice C.S. Karnan  

The Supreme Court registry dismissed a writ petition filed by Justice C.S. Karnan, a Calcutta High Court judge sentenced to six-month imprisonment for contempt, saying the finding of guilt against the convicted judge is final.

Justice Karnan had filed the petition claiming that the contempt proceedings held against him by a Bench of seven senior-most Supreme Court judges led by Chief Justice of India J.S. Khehar was void ab inito. He had contended that the Bench had no jurisdiction over a sitting High Court judge.

In a detailed written order, the registry differed with Justice Karnan. It held that the “proceedings [of contempt] were decided on merits. After due consideration it was held that Justice Karnan had committed contempt of the gravest nature, resulting in the finding of guilt.” The registry noted that he was convicted and sentenced to imprisonment for six months. It said these “findings have attained finality.”

It further observed that judicial proceedings of the Supreme Court are not amenable to writ jurisdiction under Article 32 of the Constitution. It concluded that Justice Karnan’s petition was “not maintainable.”

Proceedings challenged

“No reasonable cause to receive the present writ petition under the provisions of Order XV, Rule 5 of the Supreme Court Rules, 2013,” the registry held.

Justice Karnan, represented by advocate Mathews Nedumpara, had challenged the contempt proceedings under Section 2 (c) of the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971. He had argued that what triggered the proceedings was a letter from him to the Prime Minister alleging corruption in the judiciary.

“A judge is not a court, though without a judge there would be no court. By addressing the Prime Minister about some corrupt judges in a letter, I did not commit any contempt,” the petition had said.

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Printable version | May 13, 2021 3:25:48 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/sc-registry-dismisses-karnans-writ-petition/article18519150.ece

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