Justice Karnan maybe in Nepal or Bangladesh, we want President to appeal to ICJ: Legal aide
Calcutta high court judge CS Karnan might have escaped to Nepal or Bangladesh and his team is preparing to approach the President for relief, his legal adviser said on Thursday, the latest twist in an unprecedented face-off in India’s higher judiciary.
The revelation came as police forces scrambled across cities to catch hold of the elusive Karnan, who is facing six months in jail for contempt of the Supreme Court.
“We want the President to refer the case to the International Court of Justice, just as was done in the case of Kulbhushan Jadhav,” W Peter Ramesh Kumar, an advocate at Madras high court, told HT.
“We are preparing for the next level of legal battle and he needs to be in hiding until that time.”
His legal team also filed a petition in the top court seeking a recall of his conviction and arrest order. Karnan has repeatedly alleged that he was being unfairly singled out because he is Dalit.
“Justice Karnan is entitled to protection of the Constitution of India and the laws of the land. He is invoking the remedies open to him in law by instituting petitions,” his counsel Mathews J Nedumpara said in a statement. The judge retires next month.
The apex court convicted Karnan on Tuesday, attempting to end months of defiance by the judge who had sentenced Chief Justice of India JS Khehar and six other SC judges to five years in jail under the SC/ST act. He became the first sitting high court judge to be sentenced to jail.
But since then, the 61-year-old has eluded authorities in Kolkata and Chennai. Karnan flew down to Chennai on Monday night and checked into a government guest house, but when a five-member Bengal Police team reached the Tamil Nadu capital, he couldn’t be found.
Some reports said he travelled from Chennai to the Andhra Pradesh shrine of Srikalahasti, around 120 kilometres away, but he didn’t show up at the temple.
The team from Bengal police raided several places on Wednesday and travelled to the Andhra Pradesh-Tamil Nadu border, but failed to trace the judge. A senior officer of the Bengal Police also complained that they didn’t receive adequate help from their Tamil Nadu counterparts.
The drama over his whereabouts is only the latest twist in a dramatic, sometimes farcical judicial saga.
The controversy began in January when Karnan wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to order an investigation against judges of the Madras high court and the apex court of corruption.
Earlier this month, the SC ordered Karnan to appear before a medical board for a mental health evaluation but he refused to comply.
The ICJ sprang into national headlines earlier this week after it stayed the hanging of Jadhav, who is accused of spying and espionage in Pakistan.