SC gives Karnan four weeks to respond, but judge says he won’t

The Supreme Court on Friday gave Calcutta High Court judge C.S. Karnan four weeks to reply to the contempt notice issued to him — but he said he would not.

Justice Karnan, who appeared before the apex court after a bailable warrant was issued against him at the last hearing, told the seven-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Jagdish Singh Kehar that he would be in a position to respond to the contempt notice only when his judicial and administrative work is restored.

As the bench refused to accede to his plea for restoration of his functions, he said the court could record his statement that he would not appear for the next hearing and he could be punished right away and sent to jail.

The notice was issued to Justice Karnan in January.

As Justice Karnan said that he was not in a state of mind to respond to the contempt notice, the bench said: If you feel that you are not in a mental state to respond, you give a medical certificate.

At the outset, Justice Khehar asked Justice Karnan if he wanted to reiterate the allegations he had made against 20 judges or think about it or offer an unconditional apology.

We are asking you again and again. Do you say that you stand by whatever you have written or want to think about it, we will give you the time, the bench told Karnan.

The court is hearing the matter suo motu.

At one point during the course of the hearing, when the bench observed that Karnan was not clear and was not able to comprehend as to what he was doing, Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi said that there was no question of non-comprehension.

Rohatgi said: I don’t think this is a case of un-intention. It is a case of re-affirmation (of the allegations). You go on naming the judges, asking for inquiry. He is damning the judges. Has damned the judiciary.

Later, outside the apex court, Justice Karnan told the media that he was not satisfied with the bench’s decision.


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