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SC calls for medical examination of justice C.S. Karnan in contempt case

LiveMint logoLiveMint 01-05-2017 Apurva Vishwanath

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday called for the constitution of a medical board to examine the mental condition of sitting judge of Calcutta high court, justice C.S. Karnan, in a case of contempt against him.

“The Calcutta government hospital must constitute a medical board, examine his condition and submit a report to the court by 8 May,” held a seven-judge bench, which was hearing the case.

Chief justice of India J.S. Khehar added that the medical board would be assisted by the director general of police and a team of police personnel in carrying out the directions passed by the court. The court also incapacitated justice Karnan further by restraining all courts and tribunals from taking cognizance of any orders issued by him from the time of initial of proceedings against him.

“We are not sure if he is fit to defend himself,” said CJI Khehar.

Attorney general Mukul Rohatgi, however, called his conduct a gross criminal conduct and asked the court to take some action as it would go a long way to restore public confidence.

Justice Karnan had been given a chance to explain his stand at the last hearing, on whether he was willing to tender an unqualified apology or reaffirm his statements.

On 10 March, the apex court issued a bailable warrant against justice Karnan after he failed to personally appear in court for the second time in the contempt case against him. The court had taken suo motu cognizance of justice Karnan’s alleged misconduct, while he was serving as a judge in the Madras high court. He was subsequently transferred to the Calcutta high court.

Justice Karnan had written to various dignitaries, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the CJI, the Union law minister and various sitting judges across high courts, alleging corruption against several sitting and retired judges in the country.

Justice Karnan made repeated requests to restore his judicial and administrative work in the high court.

The apex court had barred justice Karnan from discharging his duties as a high court judge and issued a bailable arrest warrant against him. On 13 February, justice Karnan, in a written reply to the apex court, made allegations of caste bias against him by the seniormost judges of the apex court.

The case will be heard next on 18 May.

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