Will he, will he not?
Calcutta high court judge Chinnaswamy Swaminathan Karnan, who is on a collision course with the country’s top judges, has to appear before a medical board on Thursday for a mental health evaluation ordered by the Supreme Court.
It would be interesting to see what the court will do to resolve the unprecedented clash in higher judiciary as the judge continues to be defiant.
Here is what has happened so far:
‘Test them first’
Justice Karnan, who has defied several top court orders, on Tuesday said he would not appear before the board and in turn, ordered psychiatric evaluation of the seven judges, including Chief Justice of India JS Khehar, who had on May 1 ordered the test on him.
Justice Karnan went a step further on Wednesday issuing non-bailable arrest warrants against the CJI and the six judges for failing to be “represented before him”.
“Today the accused judges are called absent no representation issue non-bailable warrant against the accused call on 08.05.2017 (sic),” the order signed by justice Karnan said.
The order was issued from his Kolkata home as the Supreme Court has barred him from judicial as well as administrative work.
The judge has so far passed five suo motu orders against the CJI and other judges.
Corruption, caste bias allegations
Matters came to a head in January when in a letter he asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to order an investigation against 20 judges he accused of corruption without providing any evidence.
The judge also accused his colleagues and seniors of caste bias, saying he was being singled out for being a Dalit.
On February 8, the Supreme Court found him in contempt, a first for a high court judge in the country. He was asked for an explanation but he repeatedly ignored the orders of the court. On March 10, the court issued a bailable warrant and took away judicial work from him.
He rejected the warrant and ordered a case against the SC judges for caste bias. A week ago, he “barred” the judges from flying out of the India.
The clash within the higher judiciary is being closely watched as courts are increasingly being accused of overreach for excessive interference with executive action.