In a first of its kind sentence, the Supreme Court has ordered six monthsâ imprisonment to sitting Calcutta High Court Judge Justice CS Karnan for contempt of court. The court has also instructed the West Bengal DGP to proceed with the arrest immediately, according to television reports.
The seven-judge bench, headed by Chief Justice of India JS Khehar, passed the sentence a day after Justice Karnan himself sentenced the bench to five years rigorous imprisonment under the SC/ST Atrocities Act.
âWe are punishing him for contempt of Indian judiciary as well as judicial process and his act was of greatest nature of contempt,â the 7 judge bench headed by Chief Justice J S Khehar said, according to Live Law.
The Live Law report added that all parties assisting the court in the case found the acts by Justice Karnan unpardonable.
This makes Justice Karnan the first sitting High Court judge to be summoned and sentenced by a court in the country.
Reacting to the senior advocate Venugopalâs plea that the top court should wait till Justice Karnan retires, the CJI reportedly replied, "In contempt we do not distinguish..there is no colourâŚsitting or non-sitting... if he thought we will not punish him as he is sitting, he is wrong.â
Justice PC Ghose reportedly added that the court saw him as a âcitizen of Indiaâ and that the rules were same for all Indians.
The apex court has also banned the media (both electronic and print) from publishing any statement by Justice Karnan.
Earlier on May 1, the apex court had directed all courts and authorities not to take cognisance of any orders passed by Justice Karnan after February 8.
Justice Karnan has been facing contempt of court proceedings over a letter to the Prime Minister accusing various judges and officers of the Madras High Court of corruption.
In the letter written in January, Justice Karnan told PM Narendra Modi that corruption charges against the judges could be proved if investigated by competent officers of the central agencies. Following this, the SC had issued a warrant on March 10 against Justice Karnan.