The apex court also refused to recall arrest order against Justice Karnan's six months' imprisonment sentence.

Judges tried to smother truth about ex Arunachal CMs suicide Justice Karnan to PresidentPTI/ file image
news Law Monday, May 15, 2017 - 12:08

The Supreme Court of India refused to recall the arrest order against sitting Calcutta High Court Judge Justice Karnan, who has been found guilty of contempt of court by a seven-judge bench headed by the Chief Justice of India.

Justice Karnan, on May 12, had sought a review of his conviction and six-month jail sentence. 

"We won’t allow you to stop court proceedings like this, you have been doing it repeatedly," CJI JS Khehar told Justice Karnan’s legal aide Mathews Nedumpara on Monday.



Justice Karnan became the first Indian judge to be convicted, after incidentally also being the first judge to be summoned by a court. On May 9, Justice Karnan was sentenced to six months’ imprisonment after he failed to appear before court in a contempt case against him.

“We are punishing him for contempt of Indian judiciary as well as judicial process and his act was of greatest nature of contempt,” the seven-judge bench headed by Chief Justice JS Khehar had said.

SC gives 6 month jail term to Justice Karnan for contempt, orders media gag on his statements

The West Bengal DGP was tasked with carrying out the arrest of Justice Karnan “immediately” but Justice Karnan had evaded arrest until Monday morning and has remained at large. Searches were carried out at his Kolkata residence and in parts of Chennai and Tamil Nadu-Andhra border by several senior police officials from different states. There were rumours doing the rounds that he had left the country or he would appear before the SC himself.

Meanwhile, Justice Karnan on Monday wrote a letter addressed to President Pranab Mukherjee, that was also addressed to Vice President Hamid Ansari, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan, MPs and to leader of all political parties.  

‘Committed no offence’

In his three-point letter, Justice Karnan alleges that his impeachment and imprisonment is “without authority of law” and goes on to level allegations of corruption against the Chief Justice of India JS Khehar. While arguing that he committed no offence, the HC judge goes on to observe that the Supreme Court ‘usurped’ the jurisdiction invested in the parliament” and his trial was held without charges being framed.

Justice Karnan alleges that the order by the seven-judge bench of the apex court was a “violation of the Constitution” in addition to “the usurpation of the jurisdiction of parliament”.

As per Article 217 of the Indian Constitution, a judge can be removed by an order of the President passed after both Houses of Parliament vote for their removal on grounds of proven "misbehaviour" and "incapacity". And this vote must be by a two-thirds majority, where at least 66% of the member who are present and voting must vote for their removal.

“The President of India appointed me as a judge and the President alone could have removed me and that too upon an impeachment motion which has received the ⅔rd majority of the members of Parliament. But I am not only impeached, but even being sent to the jail without any such impeachment motion against me, by a mere judicial order of a 7 judges bench,” he writes.

Reiterating that he committed no offence, Justice Karnan says that all he did was to raise the “little voice from within” against corruption in the higher judiciary. In January, he had written a letter to PM Modi accused various judges and officers of the Madras High Court of corruption in. He also added that if central agencies probe the matter, his charges could be proved too..

Justice Karnan goes on to level more charges, alleging that in the suicide note left behind by former Arunachal Pradesh CM Kalikho Pul, he accused CJI Khehar and SC judge Justice Dipak Misra of “venturing to sell justice for a huge sum running into crores” through their relatives.  However, he claimed that no FIR has been registered and despite efforts to file a writ petition in the Delhi High Court, no case has been listed.

He concludes his letter writing, “I part with the unstinted faith that the two issues…my impeachment and imprisonment without authority of law and allegations of corruption against incumbent Hon'ble Chief Justice of India will be looked into, which I believe is the solemn duty of your excellencies.”

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