Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: The 7-Judge Bench of Jagdish Singh Khehar, CJ and Dipak Misra, J. Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, Madan B. Lokur, PC Ghose and Kurian Joseph, JJ, writing down the detailed judgement in the Justice C.S. Karnan matter, said that Justice Karnan shielded himself from actions, by trumpeting his position, as belonging to an under-privileged caste and levelled obnoxious allegations against innumerable Judges of the Supreme Court, Chief Justices of the High Courts, but mostly against Judges of the Madras High Court, however, he did not support his allegations with any material. The Court had, on 09.05.2017, found Justice Karnan guilty of contempt of court and imposed 6 months’ imprisonment upon him.

Stating that Justice Karnan’s allegations were malicious and defamatory, the Court said that Justice Karnan carried his insinuations to the public at large by endorsing his letters carefully so as to widely circulate the contents of his communications, to the desired circles. Some of his letters were intentionally endorsed, amongst others, to the President of the Tamil Nadu Advocate Association. He also used internet to place his point of view, and the entire material, in the public domain. Further, during the course of hearing of the instant contempt petition, his ridicule of the Supreme Court remained unabated. He stayed orders passed by this Court, restrained the Judges on this Bench from leaving the country and convicted them, along with another Judge of this Court, and sentenced them to 5 years imprisonment, besides imposing individual costs on the convicted Judges. Considering the aforesaid facts, the Court held that the actions of Justice Karnan constituted the grossest and gravest actions of contempt of Court and hence, he is liable to be punished, for his unsavoury actions and behavior.

However, J. Chelameswar and Ranjan Gogoi, JJ, writing down a separate judgment, explained the scope power of the Court in the matter and said that scandalising the Court is considered to be contempt of court and the actions of Justice Karnan amount to scandalising. They also acknowledged the fact that the case had highlighted 2 important aspects for consideration i.e.

(1) the need to revisit the process of selection and appointment of judges to the constitutional courts, for that matter any member of the judiciary at all levels.  The Judges said that what appropriate mechanism would be suitable for assessing the personality of the candidate who is being considered for appointment to be a member of a constitutional court is a matter which is to be identified after an appropriate debate by all the concerned – the Bar, the Bench, the State and Civil Society.

(2) the need to set up appropriate legal regime to deal with situations where the conduct of a Judge of a constitutional court requires corrective measures – other than impeachment – to be taken. It was said that there can be deviations in the conduct of the holders of the offices of constitutional courts which do not strictly call for impeachment of the individual or such impeachment is not feasible, however, the Constitution is silent in this regard.

Stating that the whole incident has caused an embarrassment to Indian Judiciary, the judges called for nationwide debate on the aforementioned issues. [In Re: Justice C.S. Karnan,  2017 SCC OnLine SC 703, decided on 04.07.2017]

Hot Off The PressNews

Supreme Court: The vacation bench of D.Y. Chandrachud and S.K. Kaul, JJ refused to grant interim bail to Justice C.S. Karnan who was arrested yesterday in Coimbatore after being on a run for over a month.

On 09.05.2017, the 7-Judge Bench of Jagdish Singh Khehar, CJ and Dipak Misra, J. Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, Madan B. Lokur, PC Ghose and Kurian Joseph, JJ, found Justice Karnan guilty of contempt of court and imposed 6 months’ imprisonment upon him. His advocate Mathew J Nedumpara said that the Court had all the powers and should grant the interim bail to Justice Karnan till the reopening of the Court. However, the vacation bench said that it could not override the decision of a 7-judge bench and hence it could neither grant interim bail nor suspend the 6 months’ sentence awarded to him for contempt of court.

Source: PTI

Hot Off The PressNews

Supreme Court Registrar refused to list Justice C.S. Karnan’s plea for recall of the order awarding him 6 months imprisonment for contempt of court. The Registrar noticed that the proceedings before the 7-judge bench were decided on merits and after due consideration, it was held that Justice C S Karnan had committed contempt of the gravest nature resulting in finding of guilt and was sentenced to an imprisonment of six months. The said findings have since attained finality, hence, the present writ petition is not maintainable. The relief if any lies some where else.

In plea filed by his lawyer Mathews J Nedumpara, Justice Karnan said that under the constitutional scheme, High Courts are not subordinate to the Supreme Court; High Courts are as much independent as the Supreme Court is, though their orders could be judicially challenged in the Supreme Court, the latter being a Court of Appeal and hence, he could not be held guilty of contempt of court. He said that the Contempt of Courts Act was a cathartic jurisprudence which belonged to the Dark Ages, the era of inquisition and torture, distinct from the classical Roman Law which constitutes the foundation of the modern jurisprudence.

After Supreme Court’s refusal to hear the plea, his lawyers had claimed that a representation has been made to the President seeking suspension of the Supreme Court order sentencing him to six months imprisonment for contempt of court under Article 72 of the Constitution. However, the President’s office said that it was not aware of any such representation.

Source: PTI

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: The 7-Judge Bench of Jagdish Singh Khehar, CJ and Dipak Misra, J. Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, Madan B. Lokur, PC Ghose and Kurian Joseph, JJ, found Justice C.S. Karnan, the sitting Judge of Calcutta High Court, guilty of contempt of court and imposed 6 months’ imprisonment upon him and as a consequence, he was barred from performing any administrative or judicial functions. The Court said that Justice Karnan’s actions constitute contempt of this Court, and of the judiciary of the gravest nature.

The Court had on 01.05.2017, directed that Justice Karnan may not be in a fit medical condition, to defend himself, in the present proceedings and hence he should be medically examined, before proceeding further. Following which Justice Karnan had not only refused to let the medical team examine him but also awarded 5 years imprisonment to the 7 members of the Bench along with R. Banumathi, J under the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 for harassing a Dalit Judge by initiating a suo mot contempt proceeding against him and directing a medical examination. He had earlier barred the 8 Judges from travelling abroad and had suggested that they resign in the interest of the nation.

Noticing that the incident of contempt includes public statements and publication of orders made by the contemnor, which were highlighted by the electronic and print media, the Court directed that  no further statements made by him should be published hereafter.

Justice Karnan, who is a sitting judge of Calcutta High Court, had written letters to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, asking him to take actions against the corrupt sitting and retired Judges of the Supreme Court and Madras High Court when he was a Judge of the Madras High Court and had passed an injunction against his own transfer orders. Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi had asked the Supreme Court to take suo motu action against the Judge to set an example. The Court hence, initiated the proceedings against him on 08.02.2017. [In Re: Justice C. S. Karnan, 2017 SCC OnLine SC 562, order dated 09.05.2017]

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: Reacting upon the judicial orders passed by Justice C.S. Karnan against the Chief Justice of India and 7 Supreme Court jusges, the 7-Judge Bench of Jagdish Singh Khehar, CJ and six senior most Judges of the Supreme Court, Dipak Misra, J. Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, Madan B. Lokur, PC Ghose and Kurian Joseph, JJ, said that the tenor of the press briefings, as also, the purported judicial orders passed by Justice C.S. Karnan, prima facie suggest, that he may not be in a fit medical condition, to defend himself, in the present proceedings and hence he should be medically examined, before proceeding further.

The Court directed the Director Health Services, Government of West Bengal, to constitute a Board of Doctors from Pavlov Government Hospital, Kolkata, to examine Justice C.S. Karnan, and  conduct the examination on 4.5.2017.  Listing the matter on 09.05.2017, the Court directed the Medical Board to submit the report on or before 8.5.2017.

The Court also refrained all Courts, Tribunals, Commissions or Authorities, from taking cognizance of any orders passed by Justice C.S. Karnan, after the initiation of the proceeding on 8.2.2017.

Directing Justice C.S. Karnan to furnish his response to the notice issued to him on 8.2.2017, on or before 8.5.2017 and if he fails to do so it shall be presumed, that he has nothing to say in the matter.

Justice Karnan, who is a sitting judge of Calcutta High Court, had recently barred the members of the Bench in the present contempt proceedings, along with R. Banumathi, J. from travelling outside India and had directed them to appear before him. [IN RE: JUSTICE C.S. KARNAN, 2017 SCC OnLine SC 514, order dated 01.05.2017]

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: The 7-judge bench of J.S. Khehar, CJ and Dipak Misra, J. Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, Madan B. Lokur, P.C. Ghose and Kurian Joseph, JJ declined the requests of Justice C.S.Karnan to be permitted to discharge judicial and administrative duties after he finally appeared before the bench in the suo motu contempt proceedings initiated against him.

The Court asked him whether he affirms the contents of the letters, written by him and whether he would like to withdraw the allegations. Since he did not respond, in any affirmative manner, one way or the other, the Court decided to proceed with the matter only after receipt of his written response. Hence, the Court asked him to respond to the factual position indicated in the various letters, addressed by him to this Court, within four weeks.

The Court had earlier, on 10.03.2017, issued a bailable warrant of Rs.10,000, in the nature of a personal bond, to ensure the presence of Justice Karnan after he repeatedly failed to appear before the Court.

The bench directed Justice Karnan to appear on 01.05.2017. [In Re: Justice C.S. Karnan, 2017 SCC OnLine SC 342, order dated 31.03.2017]

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: Owing to the non-appearance of Justice C. S. Karnan before the Court in the contempt proceedings, the 7-judge bench of J.S. Khehar, CJ and Dipak Misra, J. Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, Madan B. Lokur, P.C. Ghose and Kurian Joseph, JJ issued a bailable warrant of Rs.10,000, in the nature of a personal bond, to ensure the presence of Justice Karnan on 31.03.2017.

On 08.02.2017, the Court had restrained Justice Karnan from handling any judicial or administrative work, as may have been assigned to him, in furtherance of the office held by him and had asked him to appear before the Court on 13.02.2017. Upon non-appearance of Justice Karnan on the said date, the Court listed the matter on 10.03.2017, however, on the next date as well he neither entered appearance in person, nor through counsel

The Court noticed that on 08.03.2017, the Registry had received a fax message from Justice Karnan seeking a meeting with the Chief Justice and the Judges of this Court, so as to discuss certain administrative issues expressed therein, which primarily seem to reflect the allegations levelled by him against certain named Judges. It was however said that the abovementioned fax message cannot be considered as a response of Shri Justice C.S.Karnan, either to the contempt petition, or to the notice served upon him.

The suo motu contempt proceedings were initiated against Justice Karnan after he had written letters to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, asking him to take actions against the corrupt sitting and retired judges of the Supreme Court and Madras High Court when he was a Judge of the Madras High Court and had passed an injunction against his own transfer orders. [n Re: Justice C.S. Karnan, 2017 SCC OnLine SC 238, order dated 10.03.2017]

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court:  Due to non-appearance of Justice C.S. Karnan before the Court in the contempt proceedings initiated against him, the 7-judge bench of J.S. Khehar, CJ and Dipak Misra, J. Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, Madan B. Lokur, P.C. Ghose and Kurian Joseph, JJ directed the matter to be listed on 10.03.2017.

Certain counsel had appeared before the Court without a power of attorney. The Court, hence, said that no one should appear in this matter, without due consent and authorization. Directing Justice Karnan to appear before the Court in person, the Bench said that the contempt proceedings are a matter strictly between the Court and the alleged contemnor and anyone who enters appearance and disrupts the proceedings of this case in future, will be proceeded against, in consonance with law.

On 08.02.2017, the Court had restrained Justice Karnan from handling any judicial or administrative work, as may have been assigned to him, in furtherance of the office held by him and had asked him to appear before the Court on 13.02.2017. The said order of the Court came after Justice Karnan had written letters to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, asking him to take actions against the corrupt sitting and retired judges of the Supreme Court and Madras High Court when he was a Judge of the Madras High Court and had passed an injunction against his own transfer orders. [In Re: Justice C.S. Karnan, 2017 SCC OnLine SC 122, order dated 13.02.1017]

 

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: The 7-Judge Bench of Jagdish Singh Khehar, CJ and six senior most Judges of the Supreme Court, Dipak Misra, J. Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, Madan B. Lokur, PC Ghose and Kurian Joseph, JJ, in the suo motu contempt proceedings initiated against Justice C.S. Karnan, restrained him from handling any judicial or administrative work, as may have been assigned to him, in furtherance of the office held by him. The bench also directed him to return, all judicial and administrative files in his possession, to the Registrar General of the High Court immediately.

Justice Karnan, who is a sitting judge of Calcutta High Court, had written letters to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, asking him to take actions against the corrupt sitting and retired judges of the Supreme Court and Madras High Court when he was a Judge of the Madras High Court and had passed an injunction against his own transfer orders. Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi had asked the Supreme Court to take suo motu action against the Judge to set an example.

Justice Karnan will appear before the Court on the next date of hearing on 13.02.2017. [IN RE : Justice C.S. Karnan, 2017 SCC OnLine SC 105, dated 08.02.2017]