The high drama in the Indian judiciary right now is giving even Tamil Nadu politicians a run for their money. A seven-judge bench of the Supreme Court has sentenced a sitting judge of a High Court to six months imprisonment. The sitting judge, in turn, has ordered five years of rigorous imprisonment for the SC judges, including the Chief Justice of India. But even as the Kolkata police tried to carry out the SC order and arrest Justice Karnan on Wednesday, he was nowhere to be found.
By Thursday morning, rumours abounded on the whereabouts of Justice CS Karnan. Some said he had left the country, others reported he would appear in front of the Supreme Court. But no one seems to have sighted the Calcutta High Court judge in the last 24 hoursâ€¦
TNM asked a close aide of Justice Karnan, Peter Ramesh Kumar, about the exact location of the judge. Peter though denies any knowledge. â€śHe may be out of the country. We donâ€™t know his exact location,â€ť Peter says.
Peter Ramesh Kumar, Justice Karnan's close aide (Image courtesy/ Facebook/ Peter Ramesh Kumar)
Peter, however, did reveal Justice Karnanâ€™s next steps.
While the West Bengal police, led by a DGP of Home Guards Ravi Kannojia, together with their counterparts in Chennai continue their manhunt, Justice Karnanâ€™s close aide says that the judge is preparing an affidavit that he will submit to President Pranab Mukherjee seeking mercy from the conviction.
Listing out Justice Karnanâ€™s demands, Peter notes, â€śHe wants interim bail until final orders are passed. He also wants the President to forward the complaint to Parliament for his removal procedure.â€ť
According to Article 217 of the Constitution, a judge can only be removed by an order of the President, after both Houses of Parliament vote for his/her 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.
So why does the judge want impeachment proceedings against himself?
â€śHe wants one hour to talk in Parliament, to defend himself and his actions,â€ť says Peter.
His other demands include requesting the President to file an appeal in the International Court of Justice in The Hague, just as India had moved ICJ against Pakistanâ€™s death sentence of Indian national Kulbhushan Jadhav.
Meanwhile, Peter also dismissed reports of a personal affidavit by Justice Karnan authorising lawyer Mathews Nedumpara to move the Supreme Court on his behalf, seeking a recall of its order convicting him. He also accused Nedumpara of trying to influence Justice Karnan in a case that he was hearing.