Justice Karnan terms warrant unconstitutional, directs CBI probe
Kolkata/New Delhi: Calcutta High Court judge Justice CS Karnan on Friday termed the Supreme Court-issued bailable warrant against him as an “attempt to ruin” his life as a Dalit judge. He ordered the CBI to probe all the seven judges of the apex court and directed filing of a case under the SC and ST Act.
“It is unconstitutional,” Justice Karnan told the media in Kolkata, hours after a seven-judge Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar asked the West Bengal police chief to serve the warrant to him and sought his presence before it on March 31.
It is for the first time in the Supreme Court’s history that it invoked powers to initiate contempt proceedings against a sitting judge of a High Court.
But justice Karnan said contempt proceedings cannot be initiated against a sitting High Court judge.
“Consequently I ask the President of India to recall the bailable warrant illegally issued by the Supreme Court today against me and lift non-work allotment ban of portfolio allocation,” he said.
In a suo-motu order issued to President Pranab Mukherjee and CBI director among others, Karnan directed registering a case under appropriate sections of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Act and other penal provisions against the seven judges, including Chief Justice Khehar and Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi.
“I direct the CBI director to register, investigate and file a report,” said Karnan, adding that he was invoking his inherent powers under the High Court to “prevent abuse of process of any court and secure ends of justice”.
He alleged that he was being targeted after he made representation to Prime Minister Narendra Modi about some judges who had committed “illegal activities”.
“This warrant is arbitrary, deliberately issued to ruin my life, my career. A Dalit judge (is being) prevented from doing work in a public office. That is atrocity,” he said.
Justice Karnan had in January named 20 “corrupt judges”, seeking probe against them to curb “high corruption” in the Indian judiciary. The letter invited contempt proceedings against him.
The apex court’s unprecedented move came as Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi told the court that Justice Karnan had refused to appear before the court.
The bench on February 8 had directed Justice Karnan to appear in person to explain why contempt proceedings should not be initiated against him.
The apex court had earlier said Justice Karnan would not discharge any judicial and administrative functions during the pendency of the proceedings.