In Re, Hon’ble Shri Justice C.S. Karnan - Supreme Court Case

 In Re, Hon’ble Shri Justice C.S. Karnan - Supreme Court Important Judgment 2017 - 


 On 4th July, 2017, in In Re, Hon’ble Shri Justice C.S. Karnan [Suo-Motu Contempt Petition (Civil) No. 1 of 2017], a seven Judge Bench held that the actions of Shri Justice C.S. Karnan, a Judge of the High Court, “constituted the grossest and gravest actions of contempt of Court” and he “also committed contempt, in the face of the Court” and was “therefore liable to be punished, for his unsavoury actions and behaviour.” Accordingly, he was punished “with imprisonment for six months.”

Referring to the letters written by Shri Justice C.S. Karnan, from time to time, and the orders passed by him suo-motu (in the purported exercise of the jurisdiction vested in him under Article 226 of the Constitution of India, read with Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure), even after the issuance of the contempt notice to him, by this Court, the Bench observed that “his demeanour was found to have become further aggressive, after this Court passed orders from time to time, in this case. The contents of the letters addressed by him contained scandalous material against Judges of High Courts and the Supreme Court. This correspondence was addressed to the highest constitutional authorities, in all three wings of governance – the legislature, the executive and the judiciary. His public utterances, turned the judicial system into a laughing stock. The local media, unmindful of the damage it was causing to the judicial institution, merrily rode the Karnan wave. Even the foreign media, had its dig at the Indian judiciary. None of his actions can be considered as bona fide, especially in view of the express directions issued by this Court on 8.2.2017, requiring him to refrain from discharging any judicial or administrative work.”

The Bench held that “none of the allegations levelled by Justice Karnan were supported by any material. His allegations were malicious and defamatory, and pointedly by name, against many of the concerned Judges. He carried his insinuations to the public at large, in the first instance, by endorsing his letters carefully so as to widely circulate the contents of his communications, to the desired circles. Some of his letters were intentionally endorsed, amongst others, to the President of the Tamil Nadu Advocate Association. And later, through the internet, he placed his point of view, and the entire material, in the public domain. During the course of hearing of the instant contempt petition, his ridicule of the Supreme Court remained unabated. In fact, it was heightened, as never before. In this process, he even stayed orders passed by this Court. One of the orders passed by him, restrained the Judges on this Bench, from leaving the country. By another order he convicted the Judges on this Bench, besides another Judge of this Court, and sentenced them to 5 years imprisonment, besides imposing individual costs on the convicted Judges.” 


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