SC refuses to hear Justice Karnan’s plea against jail term

IN ANOTHER setback to Calcutta High Court judge Justice C S Karnan, the Supreme Court on Friday refused to list and hear his petition seeking recall of its order convicting and sentencing him to a six-month jail term for contempt.

The SC registry rejected the petition, terming it “not maintainable”.

Ten days after the SC’s order that Karnan be taken into custody “forthwith”, he still remains at large and has not been arrested.

The order by the Registrar said that contentions in the petition make it “manifestly clear” that the petitioner “intends to impugn and challenge the judicial orders” passed by the SC on May 9.

“The proceedings therein were decided on merits, and after due consideration it was held that Justice C S Karnan had committed contempt of the gravest nature, resulting in the finding of guilt,” the order said. “As a sequel, the petitioner also stands convicted and sentenced to imprisonment for six months. The findings have since attained finality.”

The Registrar pointed out that “judicial proceedings” of the SC are “not amenable to the writ jurisdiction under Article 32 of the Constitution”. The order said, “…I am constrained but to hold that the present writ petition is not maintainable. The relief, if any, lies somewhere else. I thus see no reasonable cause to receive the present writ petition for registration…”

Karnan’s counsel Mathews Nedumpara said he plans to approach the Delhi High Court for relief. A seven-judge Constitution bench of SC had convicted and sentenced Karnan on May 9, marking the end of a series of defiant actions by the judge.

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