EXCLUSIVE: SC contempt order not maintainable under law, Justice Karnan tells WION
An unprecedented situation has arisen following contempt proceedings against a Calcutta High Court Judge in the Supreme Court of India. WION's Raghvendra Rao spoke to Justice CS Karnan who is at the centre of the controversy. Photograph: (WION)
A day after challenging a seven-judge Bench of the Supreme Court to “arrest and put him in jail” for contempt, Calcutta High Court judge, Justice CS Karnan continued to be defiant, calling the SC bench “unconstitutional” and “artificial” and maintained that the contempt order against him was in violation of principle of natural justice and was not maintainable under the law.
In an exclusive interaction with WION, Justice Karnan also stood by his allegations of corruption against 20 judges in the Madras High Court and claimed that he can establish his case against these judges on the basis of the available administrative record. “The 20 judges are corrupted. The administrative record is available on the file of the Madras High Court registry. On the strength of the administrative file, I can establish my case against the 20 judges,” he told WION/DNA.
The Calcutta High Court judge also said that “all honourable seven judges have no locus standi to constitute and unconstitutional bench and issue a suo motu contempt order against me which is violating the natural principle of justice”. “Article 19 (1) G of the Constitution duly permits to all citizens freedom of speech, writing etc,” he added.
Asked whether he was ready to tender an unconditional apology to the apex court, Justice Karnan said, “No..no..no..no. They are contemnors. Yesterday, I passed judicial order and I declared that all seven judges are contemnors...all seven judges are accused under the SC/ST Atrocities Act...further directed the Registrar General not to allot any administrative or judicial work to the honourable judges because they are accused under the SC/ST Atrocities Act.”
On whether he had any locus standi in passing an order on the SC judges, Justice Karnan said, “Yes, the Indian Constitution permits. Under the provision of the Constitution, I can pass orders. I am also having interim power. This SC bench is not a regular bench...it is an unconstitutional bench...artificial bench. In order to harass me, the bench was artificially constituted.”
Karnan further said that “the point of unconditional apology does not arise because so far there is no discussion or findings that I am contemnor”. “The suo motu contempt initiated by the seven judge bench is not maintainable under the law. Law does not permit this. There was no original jurisdiction...no cause of action...no provision. What relief are the honourable judges seeking against me? So far they haven’t disclosed,” he told WION/DNA.
Karnan also made it clear that he will “not appear before the honourable seven judges since they are accused under the SC/ST Atrocities Act”.
When asked about his future course of action, Justice Karnan said, “I want to execute my order.” Asked as to how will he do that, he responded, “Wait and see a couple of days.” On his dare to the SC asking it to put him in jail, the judge said, “Law doesn’t permit that. They cannot put me in jail.”
Karnan further said that he had written a complaint against 20 corrupt judges to the Prime Minister of India since the “PM of India has power...is a high competent authority to order an inquiry on my complaint”. “However, the honourable judges suo motu issued contempt proceedings against me...before that there is no prior notice...judicial and administrative work was taken off from me without hearing my side. Actually, there is no discussion..no findings that I am contemnor but the honourable judges direct me to come and appear before them,” he added.
"I am also holding constitutional office. One constitutional office should not stand (against) another constitutional office," he said.