Judge alleges “caste discrimination”

November 03, 2011 02:01 am | Updated November 16, 2021 11:59 pm IST - NEW DELHI:

A Judge of the Madras High Court – Justice C.S. Karnan – has complained to the National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC) Chairman, P.L. Punia, that he was being “harassed” and “victimised” by some ‘brother Judges' just because he was a Dalit.

Mr. Justice Karnan has asked the NCSC to “constitute an enquiry” to go into the “atrocities against me (Justice Karnan) by most of the Honourable Judges”. He claimed that he would present further substantial evidence to the Commission during the enquiry.

The Judge has marked copies of his complaint to the President and the Chief Justice of India (CJI).

Mr. Punia told The Hindu here on Wednesday that NCSC examined the case and decided to refer it to CJI Justice S.H. Kapadia for appropriate action “as the CJI is the ultimate authority in the judiciary”. He hoped that the CJI would give his “serious consideration”.

Asked whether the NCSC was examining to take any other action other than forwarding the complaint to the CJI, Mr. Punia said: “This is our action. We felt that the CJI was the right person to look into the issue and forwaded the complaint to his office about 10 days ago.”

He said when Judge Karnan met him here on September 26, 2011, he mentioned that he was being discriminated against by some colleague-judges just because he was a Dalit. He also gave a written complaint to him, Mr. Punia said.

Mr. Justice Karnan, who was appointed Judge on March 30, 2009, in his complaint, said: “After duly assuming responsibilities as a Judge and taking on litigation in an independent way, I found that this was not to the liking of a few judges, who were expecting a type of groupage or coordinated consultation, which I consider unfounded and not conforming to decorum which are the principles of the courts.”

“The obvious intention is to reduce the role to subjugation and make a scapegoat which I vehemently abhor”.

He alleged that on two occasions he had been deprived of a chance to participate in functions in his native district, Cuddalore, as a special guest. He added that he was not given an opportunity, except once, to participate in programmes at the National Judicial Academy.

Mr. Justice Karnan alleged that at a marriage function in Chennai, a judge “who was seated to the right side of me crossed his leg deliberately touching mine..” and “at the Republic Day celebration, the same judge again seated next to me slyly removed the name slip which was attached to the arm of my chair with a string and stuck it to the bottom of his right leg, where it got crumpled.”

On another public celebration “one of the brother judges behind the row of mine kept on shaking my chair repeatedly with the intention to annoy [me]”.

The judge's allegations that he was subjected to humiliation and victimisation by his “brother judges" caused a stir among lawyers on Wednesday. A group of agitated lawyers met Chief Justice M.Y.Eqbal and raised the issue. They wanted to know what action would be taken against judges who had humiliated Justice C.S. Karnan.

Two senior judges and office-bearers of the Madras High Court Advocates' Association and Tamil Nadu Advocates' Association were present at the meeting. The association office-bearers were of the view that nothing should be done to impair the dignity and decorum of the judiciary.

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