The Supreme Court decided to initiate contempt proceedings against a sitting Calcutta high court judge who in recent months hit out at his colleagues with allegations of corruptions.
Chief Justice of India JS Khehar will head a seven-judge bench on Wednesday morning to issue a directive against Justice CS Karnan, making it the first instance of such proceedings being ordered against a sitting judge of an appellate court.
The SC is likely to issue a notice to Karnan, summoning him in person after charging him for obstructing dispensation of justice, sources said.
Karnan has alleged that he is being persecuted for being a Dalit. The judge has already challenged the SC collegium recommendation to transfer him out of his parent high court — Madras — to Calcutta. He will appear in the top court on February 13 to argue the case himself.
Justice Karnan stirred fresh controversy when he sent a letter to the Prime Minister on January 23. The letter said “high corruption in the judiciary is still being perpetrated in an arbitrary fashion and without fear.”
He furnished the list and claimed his allegations could be proved through “some competent agencies.” The letter contained name of a high court CJ who is due for elevation to the SC.
While staying his own transfer order, Justice Karnan also sought a response from the CJI, whom he asked “not to interfere” with his jurisdiction. He questioned the CJI’s authority as the head of the collegium to issue transfer orders for “better administration”.
Faced with a piquant situation, the HC registry rushed to the top court with a plea to restrain Justice Karnan from issuing such orders. The SC directed the judge not to pass judicial orders on his own and imposed a blanket stay on all directions issued by him after his transfer.
Days later, Justice Karnan wrote a letter to the CJI and blamed his actions on “loss of mental balance due to mental frustrations” over alleged caste bias he faced in the HC.