Defiant Calcutta high court judge CS Karnan refused to be examined by a four-member team of psychiatrists who arrived at his New Town residence to execute a Supreme Court order on Thursday afternoon.
The doctors from the Calcutta Pavlov Hospital for Mental Patients, who were accompanied by police officers, stayed at the judge’s residence for about an hour. None of them spoke to the media when they finally emerged at 2 pm.
The order for Justice Karnan’s check-up was passed by a seven-member Supreme Court bench, headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) JS Khehar, on May 1. The high court judge responded the same day by passing a suo motu order directing a psychological examination of apex court judges – including the CJI himself – at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi.
The doctors from Pavlov Hospital reached Karnan’s residence in the eastern fringe of the city along with a police team from the Bidhannagar Commissionerate at 12.45 pm on Thursday. Karnan welcomed them in, and even treated them to tea. He, however, refused to be examined.
“I decline medical treatment since I am absolutely normal and with a stable mind. It’s my strong view that the Supreme Court order amounts to insulting and harassing a Dalit judge (myself),” Karnan said in a three-page statement addressed to the medical board chairman. He handed several copies of the letter to his visitors.
The document also dubbed the judicial services offered by the seven Supreme Court judges as unsuitable for the country. “My deep request on the behalf of 127 crore Indian people is to keep the welfare of the nation as the general requirement,” the statement read. “Therefore, I request the seven honourable judges to do the right thing by resigning as it is only too obvious that (they) are rendering judicial service only for personal gain. The seven judges are encouraging and supporting corruption.”
Justice Karnan’s clash with the judiciary began a couple of months ago, when he accused several Madras high court judges and a Supreme Court judge of corruption, nepotism and casteism. His outburst triggered contempt proceedings, but he ignored the summons and issued “counter-orders” against the apex court instead.
The escalation led to an arrest warrant being issued against him – an unprecedented development in the country’s history – on March 10. However, Justice Karnan refused to receive it when a Bengal police team led by the DGP reached his home, and summoned the apex court judges instead.
The HC judge has passed six suo motu orders against the CJI and other judges until now. In April, Karnan even directed the Air Control Authority in New Delhi to prevent Chief Justice Khehar and the other apex court judges from travelling abroad.