Lawyer says justice Karnan in Chennai, moves SC seeking recall of 6-month jail term order
The apex court had ordered arrest of Justice Karnan a day after he sentenced Chief Justice of India JS Khehar and six other judges of the Supreme Court to five years in jail under the SC/ST act.india Updated: May 12, 2017 08:22 IST
The Supreme Court agreed on Thursday to consider hearing a petition by Calcutta high court justice CS Karnan seeking a review of his conviction and six-month jail sentence amid continuing confusion over his whereabouts.
His counsel Mathews Nedumpara told the top court that Karnan was in Chennai. But a five-member police team has been unable to trace him in the Tamil Nadu capital for two days now.
“I have sought a recall of the seven-judge bench’s order since no charges were framed against justice Karnan,” he said. Nedumpara also furnished a signed document authorising him to appear on behalf of the controversial judge.
Karnan’s legal adviser W Peter Ramesh Kumar said the judge might have crossed the border to Bangladesh or Nepal and that they were planning to approach the President for relief.
“We want the President to refer the case to the International Court of Justice, just as was done in the case of Kulbhushan Jadhav,” Kumar, an advocate at Madras high court, told HT.
Nedumpara also ruled out the possibility of Karnan tendering any apology. “Justice Karnan has not authorised me to tender apology on his behalf and he is in no mental condition to apologise,” Nedumpara told HT.
Karnan was convicted of contempt by the top court on Tuesday. This came a day after the judge sentenced Khehar and six other SC judges to five years in jail under the SC/ST act.
But since then, Karnan has eluded authorities. He travelled to Chennai from Kolkata hours before the SC order, checked into a government guest house but has not been seen since.
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.
The drama is the latest in an unprecedented tussle in India’s higher judiciary that saw the SC and Karnan issue a string of orders over the past four months. The top court has repeatedly summoned the 61-year-old judge who retires next month but Karnan has refused to budge, issuing single-page orders from his Kolkata home.
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. The Supreme Court stripped him of judicial and administrative responsibilities and ordered him to appear for a mental examination, but Karnan refused to comply.