SC warrant issued against me unconstitutional, says Justice Karnan

The Supreme Court issued on Friday a bailable warrant against sitting Calcutta high court justice CS Karnan, an unprecedented order in a bitter confrontation between the judge and the top court.

"Warrants will be served by the Director General of Police concerned and will be bailable at Rs10,000", the court said. He also questioned the collegium of the Supreme Court which transferred him from the Madras high court to Calcutta HC.

The seven-member bench included Chief Justice JS Khehar, and Justices Dipak Misra, J Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, Madan B Lokur, Pinaki Chandra Ghose and Kurian Joseph.

The top court assigned task of serving the warrant to West Bengal's DGP and mailed case for hearing on March 31.

During the last hearing, senior advocate KK Venugopal, appearing for the Registrar General of the Madras HC, had said the high court judges needed protection from Karnan's verbal abuse and wild charges.

He also informed the court that in under the Supreme Court Rules, if a person does not appear, a bailable warrant can be issued against him.

The bench also asked him to furnish a personal bond of Rs 10,000.

Calcutta High Court Justice CS Karnan has alleged corruption in the judiciary.

In the said order, Mr. Rohatgi submitted that Justice Karnan had agreed with the petitioner-lawyer that the seven-judge Bench decision to strip him of judicial and administrative powers in the light of the contempt proceedings was void.

Justice Karnan was earlier summoned by the Supreme Court after he was accused of writing letters to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and others alleging corruption against several sitting and retired judges in the country.

However, the Chief Justice said that since it was happening for the first time. "We have to see what we can so, what we can't do... it is a vital issue", he said.

Yet, the constitution bench gave him another chance, albeit with a warning. He was subsequently transferred to the Calcutta high court. SC has refused to consider Justice Karnan's letter as his reply to contempt notice.

  • Leroy Wright