news Monday, July 13, 2015 - 05:30
Justice CS Karnan holding the sword, and to his right, MHAA President Paul Kanagaraj In what has set the legal community in Chennai abuzz, sitting Madras High Court Judge CS Karnan celebrated his 60th birthday with élan, accepting a huge garland made of roses, a crown made of flowers and a sword, creating exceptional imagery. At the event, he is reported to have said that he is not a controversial judge, but a “controlling judge”. Controversy has been synonymous with Justice CS Karnan since he has been embroiled with several of them in the past few years. He had earlier complained to the Chief Justice of the Madras High Court stating that his brother-judges were discriminating him for being a Dalit. He was also reported to have barged into a courtroom in the Madras HC when the court was hearing a matter relating to appointment of judges. In the picture taken at the event, advocate RC Paul Kanagaraj, President of the Madras High Court Advocates Association and other lawyers are seen him presenting him the garland, crown and sword. Kanakaraj is also President of the little-known political party Tamil Maanila Katchi, and was earlier a member of DMK and then the AIADMK. True to his form, the Times of India also reports him saying that he usually celebrates only three days in a year – Independence Day, Republic Day and BR Ambedkar’s Birthday.     Speaking to The News Minute, senior advocate and activist Sudha Ramalingam said, “It is high time that a code of conduct is established for advocate associations' interaction with judicial officers, so that some distance can be maintained between them and there are no instances of favouritism. The judges should also make sure that they avoid gratification from lawyers during personal events.” In 1997, the Supreme Court had adopted the “Restatement of Values of Judicial Life” charter which set guidelines for the judges to remain independent and impartial.  You can read the entire charter here, but here are some of the guidelines: Justice must not merely be done but it must also be seen to be done.  The behaviour and conduct of members of the higher judiciary must reaffirm the people’s faith in the impartiality of the judiciary.  Accordingly, any act of a Judge of the Supreme Court or a High Court, whether in official or personal capacity, which erodes the credibility of this perception has to be avoided. Close association with individual members of the Bar, particularly those who practice in the same court, shall be eschewed. A Judge should practice a degree of aloofness consistent with the dignity of his office. A Judge shall not enter into public debate or express his views in public on political matters or on matters that are pending or are likely to arise for judicial determination. A Judge shall not accept gifts or hospitality except from his family, close relations and friends. Every Judge must at all times be conscious that he is under the public gaze and there should be no act or omission by him which is unbecoming of the high office he occupies and the public esteem in which that office is held.   You can read a full report of the event here, where he talks about his landmark judgments and post-retirement plans.  
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