Calcutta High Court judge, Justice Karnan fails to show up in the Supreme Court
"We are not aware of the reasons for his non-appearance. We, therefore, refrain from proceeding with the matter," Supreme Court said while deferring the matter for hearing after three weeks.
After creating history for summoning ex-Supreme Court judge Justice Markandey Katju in the court, the apex court had created yet another history by summoning sitting Calcutta High Court judge Justice CS Karnan for a contempt case. However, he failed to show up in the court today.
A seven-judge bench headed by Chief Justice JS Khehar said that Justice Karnan, despite being served with the notice in the case, "has not put in appearance."
"Moreover, no lawyer has been appointed by him to represent him today," the bench, also comprising Justices Dipak Misra, J Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, MB Lokur, PC Ghose and Kurian Joseph, said.
"We are not aware of the reasons for his non-appearance. We, therefore, refrain from proceeding with the matter," it said while deferring the matter for hearing after three weeks. The Supreme Court had last week turned the alleged contemptuous letters written by Justice Karnan against the Madras High Court Chief Justice, which were addressed to the Prime Minister, Chief Justice of India and others, into contempt proceedings against him.
Today the bench also noted the recent controversial letter written by Justice Karnan to the Registrar General of the Supreme Court on February 10. In the letter, Justice Karnan had said that he has been victimised for being a 'Dalit' and this matter be referred to Parliament.
The bench today also took serious note of some lawyers appearing in the matter without being authorised by Justice Karnan and said that they will be proceeded against under the law for interfering with the judicial process.
It was on February 8 that the Supreme Court had asked Justice Karnan to appear in person before it and explain as to why contempt proceedings are not initiated against him.
"Before obtaining any explanation from me, I wish to state that the Courts have no power to enforce punishment against a sitting judge of the High Court. The said order does not conform to logic, therefore it is not suitable for execution," he has said in response to the order of the bench headed by the CJI.
The Supreme Court had earlier issued him the show cause notice for today and forthwith restrained him from undertaking judicial and administrative work. "Issue notice to Justice CS Karnan. Returnable on February 13. Shree Justice CS Karnan shall forthwith refrain from handling any judicial or administrative work as may have been assigned to him," the court had said.
Justice Karnan was transferred from the Madras High Court to the Calcutta High Court for his alleged contemptuous conduct. He had on February 15, 2016, stayed his transfer order after the Supreme Court asked the Chief Justice of Madras High Court not to assign any judicial work to him.
The same day the Supreme Court had suspended Justice Karnan's order and made it clear that all administrative and judicial orders passed by him after the issuance of the proposal of his transfer from the Madras High Court to the Calcutta High Court shall remain stayed till further orders. However, a week later, the judge had said that he had issued an "erroneous" order due to his "mental frustration resulting in loss of his mental balance".