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The Supreme Court’s order of today (09 May, 2017) sentenced Calcutta High Court judge, Justice C.S. Karnan to six months imprisonment for contempt of court; additionally media has also been barred from publishing pronouncements of Justice Karnan. This order undermines the Constitution of India as it violates Article 19(fundamental right to freedom of speech and expression) and erodes the independence of the High Courts contrary to what is envisaged in the Constitution. The High Courts in India function independently of the Supreme Court.

The Indian Constitution does not accord so much power to the Supreme Court to get a sitting High Court judge – itself a Constitutional entity – to be arrested and thrown in jail. That the Supreme Court passed an order just on the eve of its summer break raises the issue of the intent of the higher judiciary. The bench which passed the order appears to be peeved by the pronouncements of Justice Karnan which are being seen as contemptuous of the judiciary. However more important is that the Indian Constitution does not become a victim in the process.

All this while all the complaints made by Justice Karnan (including reportedly interalia to the Chief Justice of India) have not received the attention of the powers that be. Is it because these deal with the corruption of judges in the higher judiciary? There appears to be Brahmanism working against Justice Karnan, a Dalit judge. Legal luminaries have already raised the objection of the Supreme Court forcing a High Court judge, Justice Karnan to undertake a mental health check up. If the apex Court indeed has an iota of doubt about his mental health status then the present order of the Supreme Court to get him arrested and thrown in jail is an insane order. It may be remembered that laws pertaining to mental health in Europe were to begin with framed primarily to ensure that dissenters do not go about scot-free.

Even at this late stage the Supreme Court should reverse its order; it should not wait for an enlightened citizen to file a review petition by rushing to the Chief Justice’s residence tonight.

Does this order of 9th May, 2017 remind one of 25th June, 1975!

Dr. P.S. Sahni & Shobha Aggarwal

Members, PIL Watch Group

(Email: pilwatchgroup@gmail.com)

9th May, 2017

3 Comments

  1. Pingback: India: Calcutta HC’s justice Karnan orders 5-year jail term, fine for CJI and 7 SC judges | IAPL Monitoring Committee on Attacks on Lawyers

  2. The Judges are washing their dirty linen in public. Apparently both sides are trying to outwit each other. But alluding that Brahmanism is working against Justice Karnan is un-warranted, thus PIL watch group is also bringing in caste factor , which is not there at all. It is similar to the claim that is being made by Justice Karnan,

  3. K SHESHU BABU says:

    The caste, religion and male hegemony are integrated in the present rotten and decadent system and all the three administrative organs are responsible. The executive, legislature and even judiciary have become immune to bias in every respect. Justice Karnan has the right to speak and he should have been asked to substantiate his allegations. Caste discrimination is dormant in the judicial system. Many dalits have not received positive verdicts. The AP judge late sri Bobja Tarakam who took up the case of Karamchedu carnage ( in AP Prakasam district ) was humiluated many times. The verdicts of Maqbool bhat, yakub menon or afzal guru have been controversial. Women judges have been insulted and many cases ofbatrocuties are pending.
    The supreme court should have exercised restraint and asked the judge to prove his allegations. Instead, ‘ intolerance’ seeped in, and he has been sentenced in the most disappointing fashion. Is this not ‘ judicial dictatorship ‘ ???