SC stays all orders of Madras High Court judge

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New Delhi/Chennai, Feb 15 (IANS) The Supreme Court on Monday said any administrative or judicial order passed by Justice C.S. Karnan after his transfer to the Calcutta High Court will stand stayed unless the Madras High Court chief justice specially assigns him any matter.

“The operation of all or any administrative/judicial order(s) passed by Justice Karnan, after the issuance of the proposal of his transfer from the Madras High Court dated February 12 (unless specially assigned to him by the chief justice), shall remain stayed till further orders,” said an apex court bench comprising Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar and Justice R. Banumathi.

This effectively means a stay on Justice Karnan’s order through which he stayed his own transfer to the Calcutta High Court. The transfer was issued by Chief Justice of India Justice T.S. Thakur on February 12.

Justice Karnan, while staying his transfers order, issued notice to the Chief Justice of India, returnable on February 29.

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Noting the submissions by senior counsel K.K. Venugopal, who appeared for B. Hari, the Madras High Court registrar-cum-private secretary to Chief Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul, the apex court order said: “Having taken note of the situation, in our view, it would be appropriate that Justice C.S. Karnan should hear and dispose of only such matters as are specially assigned to him by the chief justice of the Madras High Court.

“It will be open to the chief justice of the high court not to assign any further administrative/judicial work to him,” the Supreme Court said.

It said it would imply “that no other orders shall be passed by Justice Karnan, suo motu or otherwise, in any matter not specially assigned to him”.

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The apex court order came on an application by B. Hari that pointed out that Justice Karnan had questioned him for the issuance of his transfer order and using language short on politeness.

Venugopal said not only did Justice Karnan question Hari on the transfer letter, but also used language that was not courteous.

Asking the high court registrar general to furnish a copy its order to Justice Karnan, the apex court said: “It shall be open to the judge (Justice Karnan) to enter appearance before this court, in case he is so advised (in respect of the instant/pending matter).”

In his order staying his transfer, Jutice Karnan said the February 12 transfer order goes against the judgement of the apex court and stayed it under Article 226 of the Constitution.

Justice Karnan also urged the apex court not to interfere in his jurisdiction as he is in the process of finalising an order on merits.

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He also sent the order to President Pranab Mukherjee, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Law Minister D.V. Sadananda Gowda and other political leaders including Congress president Sonia Gandhi.

A copy of the order was also sent to the National Commission for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.

Speaking to the media, Justice Karnan said the apex court has no power to interfere in his domain. He alleged he was being discriminated as he was a Dalit.

Justice Karnan said the apex court order has stopped allocation of work but his judicial powers were still intact.

Justice Karnan is at loggerhead with Madras High Court Chief Justice on a number of issues. He had earlier threatened to move the Scheduled Castes Commission alleging harassment by him (Justice Kaul).

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