Supreme Court Chief Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar on Wednesday issued a contempt notice to Calcutta High Court judge Justice C.S. Karnan for writing letters casting aspersions on several judges.
Asking Justice Karnan to appear in person on February 13, a constitution bench comprising Khehar and six other judges directed that Justice Karnan would not discharge any judicial and administrative functions during the pendency of the proceedings.
It also directed Karnan to hand over all files relating to his judicial and administrative functions to the Registrar General of the High Court.
The issuance of contempt notice to Justice Karnan assumes significance as it is for the first time in the history of the Supreme Court that it has invoked powers to initiate contempt proceedings against a sitting judge of a High Court.
At the outset of the hearing, Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi told the court that the nature of various communications by Justice Karnan were "very very scandalous" and "embarrassing" and the "time has come for this court to act".
He urged the court to act so that a clear message should go to the citizens that the top court will not hesitate in taking action against its own judge in the High Court.
However, Chief Justice Khehar said that it was happening for the first time and "We have to be very careful in going about it."
"We must be as careful as we can be. We have to see what we can so, what we can't do.. it is a vital issue. We have to see cause and effect," said Chief Justice Khehar.