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  India   All India  11 Mar 2017  Supreme Court warrant for arrest of defiant HC judge issued

Supreme Court warrant for arrest of defiant HC judge issued

THE ASIAN AGE.
Published : Mar 11, 2017, 12:53 am IST
Updated : Mar 11, 2017, 5:59 am IST

Justice Karnan is the first serving high court judge against whom an arrest warrant has been issued by the apex court in a contempt case.

Justice C.S. Karnan
 Justice C.S. Karnan

New Delhi/Kolkata: In an order unprecedented in the annals of India’s judiciary, the Supreme Court on Friday issued a bailable warrant against Justice C.S. Karnan of Calcutta high court as he failed to appear for the second time to answer contempt charges for his allegations of corruption against judges of the Madras high court and the apex court.

Justice Karnan is the first serving high court judge against whom an arrest warrant has been issued by the apex court in a contempt case.

In Kolkata, Justice Karnan hit back at the Supreme Court over the warrant to ensure his presence before it on March 31, calling it “unconstitutional”, and alleged that he was being targeted for being a dalit. “I had complained against 20 judges and a former Prime Minister for which a suo moto case has been registered against me. They are harassing me intentionally. One Constitution cannot act as a barrier against another constitutional body,” he said.

“Supreme Court is not my master and high court is not the servant. My next step will be… I will use my judicial power. All seven judges have to resign and should be prosecuted,” Justice Karnan told reporters at his home.

A seven-judge bench headed by Chief Justice J.S. Khehar took strong note of Justice Karnan’s non-appearance despite being served with the contempt notice, and asked West Bengal’s DGP to execute the warrant. The court said it would “appreciate” if the warrant was served by the DGP.

“Notice of this petition has been duly served. Despite service, wherein the personal presence of Shri Justice C.S. Karnan in this Court was imperative, he has neither entered appearance in person, nor through counsel,” the bench, also comprising Justices Dipak Misra, J. Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, M.B. Lokur, P. C Ghose and Kurian Joseph, said. “In view of the above, there is no other alternative but to seek the presence of Shri Justice C.S. Karnan by issuing bailable warrants,” it said. The bench during a 15-minute hearing that took place in the packed CJI’s courtroom referred to Justice Karnan’s fax message sent to the apex court registry on March 8 seeking a meeting with the CJI to discuss “certain administrative issues”. It said the message “primarily seems to reflect the allegations by him against certain named judges. The above fax message cannot be considered as a response of Justice C.S. Karnan, either to the contempt petition or to the notice served upon him.” At the outset, attorney general Mukul Rohatgi said that Justice Karnan had defied the Supreme Court order and the apex court rules on contempt provide for issuance of bailable and non-bailable warrants against a contemnor to ensure his presence. Addressing a press conference at his residence in Kolkata hours later, Justice Karnan said the apex court has “no locus standi” to issue a bailable warrant against a sitting judge. “This is intentional and I am being targeted for being a dalit. The warrant against me is unconstitutional,” he said. “Consequently I ask the President of India to recall the bailable warrant illegally issued ,” he said.

He also issued an “order” of registration of a case under the appropriate sections of the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (prevention of atrocities) Act, 1989 on CJI Justice J.S. Khehar and six other judges.

He also hit out at Mr Rohatgi and alleged, “He is not a fair A-G. There is no provision to issue a bailable warrant against a sitting judge and harass him.”

Tags: supreme court, cs karnan, apex court