A bailable warrant was today issued against Justice CS Karnan of the Calcutta High Court by the Supreme Court after he had failed to appear in a contempt petition initiated against him because he had made allegations about corruption against certain judges. The case would he heard on 31st March.
The whole issue started when Justice Karnan had written an open letter to the PM dated 23rd January where he had named a list of 20 Judges who he alleged were indulging in corruption.
Needless to say, this allegation without any proof ruffled a lot of feathers and the Supreme Court acted swiftly against the judge. On 8th February a 7 member bench of the Supreme court issued a contempt notice to Justice Karnan and sought a reply from him by 13 February. It also withdrew all the Judicial and administrative work which was assigned to Justice Karnan. This order was a milestone of sorts as for the first time the SC had initiated contempt proceedings against a High Court judge.
The judge though didn’t take the order lying down and wrote a letter to the SC dated 10th February where he vowed of filing a criminal complaint against the Chief Justice of India for allegedly victimizing him (Justice Karnan) on the basis of his caste (Justice Karnan is a Dalit). He then failed to turn up for his contempt proceedings on 13th February for which he was issued a bailable warrant today.
This isn’t the first time Justice Karnan has been in the limelight and to say the least, his tenure as a judge which started in 2009 has been eventful. He alleged victimisation at the hand of few judges because of his caste and had written to the National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC) in 2011 complaining of the same.
In 2013 he was the same Judge who had passed the controversial judgement about a woman being able to claim the social status as a man’s wife if both had engaged in pre-marital sex and marriage was promised to the woman. He also ended up issuing a gag order which prohibited any criticism of the judgement.
In 2014 he barged into a courtroom where a PIL was being heard about selection of judges and started arguing against unfair and biased selection of Judges.
In the same year, 20 of his fellow judges had sent a memorandum to the CJI asking for his transfer as they claimed he was difficult to work with.
In 2015 he had alleged dummy cases were being assigned to him and announced that he would be going on a long leave. He was transferred to the Calcutta HC in 2016 by the SC after the Madras HC approached it regarding an allegation by Justice Karnan that the collegium system preferred high caste candidates.