The battle between the Supreme Court and Calcutta HC judge C.S. Karnan has taken yet another twist. The Supreme Court has passed an order for Karnan’s immediate arrest for contempt of court and ordered his imprisonment for 6 months. For the first time, a sitting judge of a High Court will be arrested and imprisoned.
This decision came a day after Karnan, who is facing contempt charges, passed a sentence against the Chief Justice of India J.S. Khehar and seven judges of SC for five years of rigorous imprisonment, holding them guilty for offences under the SC/ST Atrocities Act, 1989 and Amended Act of 2015.
Karnan also ordered that if the judges failed to pay the decided fine, another six months would be added to their 5 years sentence. The High Court’s judge stated that “the judges had shown caste discrimination and hence had no locus standi to continue as Supreme Court judges.
The order also included that the fine has to be paid within a week to the National Commission, Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes Constitutional body, Delhi.
This decision was passed against the Chief Justice of India and Justices Dipak Misra, J Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, Madan B Lokur, Pinaki Chandra Ghose and Kurian Joseph.
This decision has come as a retaliation of the Supreme Court’s suo motu petition for contempt against him and the apex court’s order that restrained any authority from following his judicial orders.
A few days back, on May 2, Justice Karnan issued a non-bailable warrant against the seven judges of Supreme Court for not appearing before him. Previously, he had said that the CJI and other judges of the seven-member bench insulted and humiliated him because he was a Dalit, for which he also filed a defamation case against them.
On May 4, he also refused to be examined by a four-member team of psychiatrists from the Calcutta Pavlov Hospital for Mental Patients who arrived at his residence to execute a Supreme Court order.
The entire Karnan- SC fiasco is a bewildering event as Karnan retires next month. The SC’s order to arrest a sitting judge is also a hard-blow to the Indian Constitution which does not permit the arrest of an in-office official or judge.
The controversy that began in January when Karnan intimated the Prime Minister to order an investigation against the Judges of Madras High Court and the Supreme Court on the grounds of corruption, has taken a turn for worse. The immensity at which this entire controversy has escalated has left many conjecturing what will happen next in this twisted tale.
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