Justice Karnan walks free after 6 months in prison

He is the first sitting high court judge to have been sentenced to jail.

Kolkata: Former Calcutta high court judge C.S. Karnan was released from jail on Wednesday after the completion of his six-month sentence for contempt of court.

The sentence was awarded by the Supreme Court in May.

Mr Karnan left the Presidency Correctional Home premises around 11 am, his wife Saraswati Karnan said.

His wife and elder son, who arrived here last night from Chennai, accompanied him.

Mr Karnan was arrested from Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu on June 20 after he had evaded the police for over a month.

The apex court had sentenced him to six months in jail for contempt of court on May 9. Karnan was a serving judge of the Calcutta high court at that time.

He is the first sitting high court judge to have been sentenced to jail.

Mr Karnan’s lawyer Mathew J. Nedampura said the former judge planned to write an autobiography. The former Calcutta high court judge will be in the city for a few days for pension and other retirement-related formalities, after which he will leave for Chennai. Mr Nedampura said Karnan, who had lost weight in these six months, would spend time with his family for a couple of weeks.

A seven-judge bench of the Supreme Court, headed by former chief justice of India J.S. Khehar, had asked the West Bengal director general of police (DGP) to take Karnan, who was on a warpath with the apex court for months, into custody.

The Supreme Court had earlier issued a bailable warrant against the judge to secure his presence before it in connection with the contempt case.

Mr Karnan had appeared before the apex court on March 31, a first in the country’s judicial history, and asked for restoration of his powers as a pre-condition for his re appearance, but the plea was rejected.

Mr Karnan, who had enrolled himself as an advocate with the Bar Council of Tamil Nadu in 1983, was appointed a judge of the Madras High Court in 2009.

He was transferred to the Calcutta high court on March 11, 2016.

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