A defiant Kolkata high court judge CS Karnan on Monday ordered the psychological examination of the Chief Justice JS Khehar and other judges who directed a medical test on him by a board of doctors at a government hospital in Kolkata.
The top court directed the West Bengal director general of police to set up a team of officers to assist the medical board and submit a report on or before May 8. It also declared all orders passed by Karnan invalid, and said no court or tribunal shall take cognisance of his directions.
Karnan has accused a number of top judges of corruption, triggering the first-ever contempt proceeding against a sitting high court judge.
The high court judge reacted to the order by setting up a court at his New Town residence in the eastern fringe of Kolkata once again. He called the media to his residence and passed a two-page suo motu handwritten order on his official letterhead addressed to “all the press media.”
“I set aside this Supreme Court order. It is erroneous, ridiculous and bad in law. My earlier suo motu order (in which Karnan had directed the CJI and other judges to appear before him on Monday) can’t be set aside by the seven-judge bench because they are the accused,” Karnan said.
“I will not conform to any test. If the DGP or any doctor tries to force me to face a test I will order their suspension and make them co-accused in this case,” he added.
Karnan said by ordering a medical examination, the top court had insulted an “innocent Dalit judge” and claimed that his wife and sons were “very much satisfied” with his mental and physical health.
“I set aside this Supreme Court order. It is erroneous, ridiculous and bad in law. My earlier suo motu order (in which Karnan had directed the CJI and other judges to appear before him on Monday) can’t be set aside by the seven-judge bench because they are the accused.”
He ordered the director general of Delhi Police to take the CJI and the 6 other judges to All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in New Delhi for a psychological test and submit the report to him on or before May 7.
Justice Karnan’s clash with the judiciary started when he accused several judges of the Madras HC - where he earlier served - and an SC judge of corruption, nepotism and casteism. His allegations triggered contempt proceedings, the summons for which he ignored before issuing counter “orders” against the Supreme Court.
The escalation led to an unprecedented arrest warrant being issued against him on March 10. But he refused to receive it — when a team of Bengal police led by the DGP reached his home — and summoned the apex court judges instead.
The HC judge has so far passed 5 suo motu orders against the CJI and other judges. In April, Karnan even directed the “Air Control Authority, New Delhi,” not to permit CJI Khehar and 7 other judges to travel abroad.
Karnan is a Dalit and his orders against the judges are based on laws protecting the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe people. He has alleged that he is being targeted for his caste.