SC issues bailable warrant against Justice Karnan

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New Delhi, March 10 (IANS) In an unprecedented step, the Supreme Court on Friday issued a bailable warrant against Justice C.S. Karnan of the Calcutta High Court as he did not appear before it as directed.

A seven-judge Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar asked the West Bengal Director General of Police to serve the bailable warrant to Justice Karnan and sought his presence before it on March 31.

The bench also asked him to furnish a personal bond of Rs 10,000.

The order came as Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi told the court that Justice Karnan had refused to appear before the court in a contempt case initiated by it suo moto.

The court also said that the Registry of the Supreme Court had received a text message from Justice Karnan on March 8, “seeking a meeting with CJI and other judges so as to discuss certain administrative issues which primarily seem to reflect allegations against certain judges.

“The letter can’t be considered as response to contempt petition. In view of the above, there is no alternative but to ensure his presence in the court by issuing bailable warrant.”

Besides Chief Justice Khehar, other judges on the bench are Justice Dipak Misra, Justice J. Chelameswar, Justices Ranjan Gogoi, Justice Madan B. Lokur, Justice Pinaki Chandra Ghose and Justice Kurian Joseph.

Earlier, the Supreme Court bench had issued contempt notice to Justice Karnan for writing letters casting aspersions on several judges.

It is for the first time in the Supreme Court history that it has invoked powers to initiate contempt proceedings against a sitting judge of a High Court.

The apex court had earlier said Justice Karnan would not discharge any judicial and administrative functions during the pendency of the proceedings.

At the outset of the hearing, Rohatgi told the court that the contempt notice had been served to Justice Karnan and “we got to know that he wrote two letters to the CJI” with allegations against some Madras High Court judges.

–IANS

gt/mr

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