Former Madras High Court Judge Justice CS Karnan will contest the 2019 Lok Sabha elections from Chennai. Justice Karnan, who had been a judge in the Calcutta and Madras High Courts, floated his own party called the ‘Anti Corruption Dynamic Party’ in May 2018. He filed his nominations for Central Chennai seat on Monday.
In an interview to Bar and Bench, Justice Karnan said his “focus will be to expose corruption in the government and the judiciary”. Earlier, he was quoted in the media saying that he will field only women, barring himself, in all 543 Lok Sabha constituencies in 2019.
Justice Karnan had previously acted as a booth agent for the AIADMK in the past, including the 2002 Assembly polls, but later became a Congress sympathiser.
Brush with controversy
Karnan’s first brush with controversy was when, as a judge in the Madras High Court, he started suo motu contempt proceedings against Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul, the then Chief Justice of the Madras HC, in 2015. In February 2016, he again accused Kaul of corruption, following which, he was transferred to the Calcutta High Court.
In January 2017, Justice Karnan wrote a letter to the Prime Minister, which included "an initial list" of 20 sitting judges of both the Supreme Court and High Courts, levelling corruption allegations against them. This led to the Supreme Court issue against the sitting judge.
Former Justice Karnan is the only judge to be sentenced to six months of imprisonment for contempt of court by the Supreme Court, in May 2017.
Prior to this, he had alleged caste-based harassment in 2011 at the behest of other judges at the Madras High Court, to the National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC).
In 2014, during a PIL hearing on the issue of appointment of judges, he claimed that the procedure of appointment was unfair.
Who is Justice Karnan
Born in a poor Dalit family at Karnatham village in Cuddalore district of Tamil Nadu in 1955, he went onto study law at Madras Law College after finishing his undergraduate from New College in Chennai. He became a lawyer and started practising as an advocate of the Bar Council of Tamil Nadu in 1983.
In his career as a lawyer, he was an advisor for the Tamil Nadu Metro Water department and appeared as a government advocate in civil suits and as standing counsel for the central government in Madras HC.
In 2009, he was nominated as a judge of the Madras High Court, where he served until he was transferred to the Calcutta High Court in February 2016.